The Complete Fishing Scene on Lake Erie

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					         LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                      SUMMER 2001

 Lake Erie

 Walleye
 www.walleye.com
                                                          Vol. 7 No.2• Summer 2001
                                                                          U.S. $2.95


 The Complete Fishing Scene on Lake Erie
 Coverage of the Western, Central & Eastern Basins
Summer 2001


              • The 2001 Walleye
                Report
              • Diving Planes for
                Erie 'Eyes
              • Fishing Erie's
                Central Basin
              • Precision Jigging
              • Steelhead
                Madness on Lake
                Erie
              • Erie Innovation for
                Walleyes
              • Smallmouth on the Rocks
              • The Eastern Lake Fishery Report
                                                Plus:   Walleye News & Fact File
                                                        2001 Walleye Tourneys
                                                        Charter Service Directory
              • Lake Erie's Walleye
                Under the Microscope                                   PRSRT STD
                                                                        U.S. Postage
                                                                           Paid
                                                                       Ballwin, MO
                                                                       Permit No. 86

                                                                          1
LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                            SUMMER 2001




                In This Issue
                                                                  From The Editor
     Vol. 7, No. 2            Summer 2001


    3 Walleye News & Fact File                      B    oy, what a difference a year makes. Walleye
                                                         fishing to this point (May 25th at this writing) has
                                                    been fantastic; the best seen in several years, accord-
    7 The 2001 Walleye Report
      by Rick Kubb                                  ing to many charter captains. Walleyes have been
                                                    caught just about anywhere in the western basin.
                                                    Limits are common and the weather for the most part
12 Diving Planes for Erie 'Eyes
   by Mark Hicks                                    has been very cooperative. In the central basin there
                                                    has been an excellent spring and early summer night-
                                                    time and near-shoreline walleye bite.
           Erie's
20 FishingRiser Central Basin
   by Bud                                           Just a year ago catching walleyes was tough, and
                                                    that’s putting in mildly! In 2000 spring and summer
24     Precision Jigging
       by Ted Takasaki & Scott Richardson
                                                    fishing more often than not was nothing to write home
                                                    about. In the western basin we couldn’t consistently
                                                    find the walleyes and when we did mark fish, the bite
                                                    just wasn’t there. Fishing for walleyes in the central
27 Steelhead Madness on Lake Erie
   by Jeff Frischkorn                               basin was so tough that many charter captains
                                                    switched to targeting steelhead trout. The steelies
                                                    were there in great numbers. Good thing for that
        Innovation
29 ErieMark Martin for Walleyes
   by
                                                    cause the walleyes were having fun playing hide and
                                                    seek. Last year fishing didn’t pick up until very late
                                                    summer and into the fall, when walleye fishing sud-
       Smallmouth on the Rocks                      denly turned into something truly special.
32     by Melissa Hathaway
                                                So what gives? How can a single year make such a
       The Eastern Lake Erie Fishery Report     difference? There are likely many factors but here
34     by Joe Fischer                           are a few. Weather: The weather to this point in the
                                                season has been better than last year. Fewer fronts
       Lake Erie's Walleye Under the Microscope have allowed fisherman to get on the water more
36     by Jeff Frischkorn                       often. The strong 1999 year class: A very large
                                                1999 walleye hatch has plentiful 2 year old fish
                                                swimming around and being taken by fishermen in big
37   2001 Walleye Tournament Scene              numbers. Lower numbers of bait fish: Potentially,
39 Charter Service Directory                                                          See Editor, Page 6
40 Business & Service Directory
                                                                   Lake Erie Walleye
                                                                   Rick Kubb, Editor/Publisher
                                                            Published for the walleye anglers of Lake Erie.
                                                              Subscriptions are $10.00 annually for three
                 On the Cover                                   sus
                                                               i s e . To subscribe call 1 800 347-4519
     Captain Timothy Garrett of Aqua Fantasea                         or send check or money order
                                                                     payable to Lake Erie Walleye to:
     Charters with a Central Basin Summertime            Lake Erie Walleye, P.O. Box 421 Ballwin, MO 63022
      trophy walleye weighing in at 14 pounds              Email: kubb@walleye.com          www.walleye.com


2
 LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                             SUMMER 2001




                 Walleye News and Fact File
          Water Levels Forecasted
                                                          through 1967. From 1968 to 1999, levels were
               for Lake Erie                               again generally above long-term averages. Annually,
                                                          the lake also rises and falls about 18 inches with the
L    ake Erie water levels are expected to remain 5 to
     12 inches below their long-term averages during
the coming spring and summer. But the ups and
                                                          seasons - losing water in the fall and winter through
                                                          evaporation, and gaining water back during spring
                                                          snowmelt and summer rains.
downs of water levels are a normal part of Lake
Erie’s life cycle, according to the Ohio Department of     Short-term fluctuations, such as those that can be
Natural Resources (ODNR).                                 associated with a single severe storm, are the most
                                                          dramatic changes. Because the lake is relatively
 “In reality, Lake Erie is a dynamic, constantly          shallow and lies southwest to northeast, strong south-
changing body of water,” said Dave Cashell, state         westerly winds can blow surface water from Lake
hydrologist at ODNR. “In the mid-1930s, the lake          Erie’s western basin to the central and eastern basins
was nearly 2 feet below its present level. In the         in a matter of hours. Veteran boaters know that a
1950s and again in the 1980s, it was more than 3          storm passing through Toledo can leave dock areas
feet higher than its present level. We must realize       standing dry in that city while creating high-water
that change is inevitable when dealing with Lake          conditions in Buffalo, New York. During severe
Erie and adapt our plans and outlooks accord-              storm events, the instantaneous difference in water
ingly.”                                                   levels between Toledo and Buffalo can approach 16
                                                          feet!
 Some lakefront property owners and business people
who grew accustomed to consistently higher-than-           Cashell describes the Great Lakes system as inter-
average water levels during the last 30 years may         connected “bathtubs,” with each lake lower than the
 find that news difficult to accept. For them, lower      next. Within each lake, waters slosh around in
water levels translate into reduced shipping revenues     response to changes in wind and atmospheric pres-
and difficult-to-enter marinas and boat slips. But        sure. Lake Superior, at about 603 feet above sea
ODNR experts encourage people concerned about             level, is the highest. It drains into Lake Huron
present water levels to take a page from Great Lakes       and Lake Michigan (considered one body of water),
history before concluding that Lake Erie is suffering     which in turn, drain into Lake St. Clair through the St.
some sort of decline.                                     Clair River. Lake St. Clair drains into Lake Erie
                                                          through the Detroit River. Lake Erie waters drop
 Officials first began measuring water levels in the       dramatically (about 326 feet in 35 miles!) into Lake
Great Lakes in the mid-1800s. The present system of       Ontario through the Niagara River and over Niagara
gauges began operating in 1918. Hydrologists have         Falls. Lake Ontario waters travel downhill
learned that lake levels fluctuate with the seasons and    through the St. Lawrence Seaway into Montreal
 can vary dramatically over longer periods of time.       Harbour and the Atlantic Ocean.
 Long-term monthly averages have varied more than 6        About 80 percent of Lake Erie’s water flows in from
feet over the period of time records have been kept.      the Upper Lakes through the Detroit River. Another
Water levels were slightly above long-term                10 percent comes from tributary rivers and streams,
 averages during the mid-to-late 1800s and generally      with the remaining 10 percent from precipitation
below the long-term averages from about 1890              falling on the lake’s surface. The Detroit River inflow
                                                                                                               3
LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                                SUMMER 2001



is directly dependent on rain and snowfall around lakes       According to the ODNR Division of Watercraft, most
Superior, Huron and Michigan. Unusually warm winters         Lake Erie boat launches remain fully operable in
and dry summers in the late 1990s brought little precipi-    these times of lower-than-normal water. Boaters
tation and virtually no ice cover to the Upper Lakes,         should check for the best launch areas when planning
causing lake water levels to drop in those bodies of         a lake outing. ODNR always advises boaters to use
water, and subsequently, in Lake Erie. The U.S. Army         charts when navigating unfamiliar waters.
Corps of Engineers, which projects Great Lakes water          Boaters should be especially cautious around the
levels six months in advance, said in February that          islands in the western basin and when nearing shore.
Lake Superior was approaching levels last seen in            Areas that may have been safe to pass over
1926. The recent winter did not provide enough mois-          in the past, may have an underwater hazard in low-
ture to counter all the preceding dry years.                 water conditions. Navigation charts for Lake Erie
                                                             are available at marinas, bait shops and other outlets
 Despite “urban legends” to the contrary, there are no       on the north coast.
man-made gates regulating the outflow of Lake Erie
waters through the Niagara River. Only lakes Superior         Dredging projects made necessary by receding
and Ontario have artificial controls to influence levels     waters require advance planning since securing
and those levels are governed by agreements with             mandatory dredging permits from the Ohio Environ-
Canada, Cashell said. Lower-than-average water               mental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps
levels have a positive impact on many aspects of lake        of Engineers can take several months. Limited funds
life. Coastal erosion has decreased and beachcombers         are available to communities and public agencies for
are finding wider stretches of sand for swimming and         dredging assistance through ODNR. Commercial
sunbathing, according to Mike Colvin of ODNR’s               marinas, homeowners’ associations and private clubs
Coastal Management Program.                                  are ineligible.
 “The lake’s shoreline provides some of the best bird         For more information about Lake Erie’s changing
watching in the Midwest,” said Melissa Hathaway of           waters, check the ODNR web site at
the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s Lake Erie Unit. “The         www.dnr.state.oh.us or call the ODNR Coastal
lower lake levels only enhance these viewing                 Services Center at 419-626-4296 or toll free at 888-
 opportunities.”                                             644-6267.

 Jim McCormac, a botanist and bird expert with
ODNR’s Division of Natural Areas & Preserves, said
North American shorebirds with the longest
 migration patterns like the Hudsonian godwit and long-              Walleye and Perch Quotas
billed dowitcher are spending more time along Ohio’s                       Set for 2001
Lake Erie shore in the fall. The birds feed in the
expanding marshes, building stamina for their long flights
south.                                                       I
                                                          n an effort to boost Lake Erie’s walleye population,
                                                          fisheries scientists, working with the Great Lakes
                                                        Fishery Commission (GLFC) met in March and
 New expanses of rare and endangered botanicals are     agreed to cut in half international harvest quotas for
finding homes in the mudflats created by lower lake     walleye on the lake, according to the Ohio Department
levels. Most are sedges and rushes - some of the rarest of Natural Resources (ODNR).
plants in the Great Lakes region, McCormac added.
“They grow, bear fruit and reseed on the newly exposed The GLFC’s Lake Erie Committee met in March in
mud flats,” McCormac said. “When the waters recover Niagara Falls, NY and agreed to reduce the total
them, those seed beds will remain dormant for decades allowable walleye harvest for the entire lake from 7.7
before producing another plant. They are an important   million in 2000 to 3.4 million fish this year.
part of the biological and hydrological cycle of Lake
Erie.”

 4
 LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                               SUMMER 2001



The daily bag limit for walleye in Ohio waters of Lake      The total allowable catch for yellow perch in Lake
Erie and its tributaries for 2001 will be four fish from    Erie for 2001 was set at 7a.1 million pounds, up
March 1 through April 30 and six fish from May 1            slightly from 6.57 million in 2000. Yellow perch quotas
through the last day in February 2002.                      for individual jurisdictions surrounding the lake are
                                                            based on a different sharing formula than walleye,
“Committee members agreed last year to set future           involving surface area and past fishing performance.
quotas conservatively in an effort to stop declining
walleye populations,” said ODNR Division of Wildlife        Ohio’s share of the 2001 perch allocation is slightly
fisheries biologist Mike Costello. “Toward that goal,       more than 3 million pounds. Ontario will receive about
Ontario accepted a decrease of nearly 2 million             3.7 million pounds and Michigan, Pennsylvania and
walleyes, confirming their commitment to rebuilding         News York will share the remainder.
populations of the lake’s most popular game fish.”
                                                            Ohio’s portion of the yellow perch quota is then
The Lake Erie Committee is made up of fisheries             allocated between sport and commercial fisheries.
managers from Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New             Sport anglers are allocated 64 percent of the Ohio
York and Ontario. The group meets annually to               quota, and commercial anglers 36 percent.
determine the status of Lake Erie fish stocks and,
establish international harvest quotas for each of those    “Yellow perch stocks I the central basin are strong but
jurisdictions surrounding the lake.                         we still have some concerns in the western and
                                                            eastern basins of Lake Erie,” said Costello.
“We are committed to doing everything we can to
improve the Lake Erie fishery for the future,” Costello     The daily bag limit for sport anglers remains at 30
said. “It won’t happen overnight but we’ve laid the         perch per angler and existing commercial fishery
groundwork and shown that the entire team can work          regulations also remain in effect.
together to protect this important resource.”
                                                            For further information contact: Mike Costello,
Walleye harvest quotas are determined by a formula          ODNR Division of Wildlife (614) 265-6349 or Andy
base on surface area within each jurisdiction.              Ware, ODNR Media Relations (614) 265-6882

Ohio and Ontario receive the majority of the walleye
allocation catch for Lake Erie. Of the 2001 quota of
3.04 million fish, Ohio’s share is just over 1.7 million,
about 51 percent of the total. Ontario’s share is about
1.4 million walleyes, about 43 percent of the total
allocation.
                                                                    Lake Erie Fishermen
                                                                   Tell us how you're doing
“Our focus is to manage for improved growth in the
walleye population,” said Costello. “Supporting this                       on-line at
effort, both Ontario and Michigan have made similar                  www.walleye.com
changes in their bag limits.”

Based on the strength of the 1999 walleye hatch,
fisheries biologists predict a brighter future for Lake
                                                                Post your fishing reports so
Erie walleye fishing.                                             that others can benefit.
“The new quotas positively impact the ’99 year class            Visit walleye.com often for
fish, enabling them to contribute to the fishery for a           the latest fishing reports
number of years,” Costello said.

                                                                                                                  5
LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                                SUMMER 2001



From Editor, Page 2                                         what. How much of a positive rebound only the
the recent cold winter and ice conditions we had back       future will tell.
in January could have killed off a number of bait fish.
Fewer bait fish means for a stronger walleye bite.          With this issue we welcome two new writers to our
                                                            staff. Bud Riser (remember Walleye Magazine?)
Lower Limits: With the walleye daily limit lowered
from ten to six fish, fishermen can more easily take        brings incredible credentials. A seasoned veteran
their limit. I would bet that in the minds of many          walleye fisherman, Bud will share his expertise and
                                                            stories with us in the issues to come. Jeff Frischkorn,
anglers their level of satisfaction would be greater
taking 6 fish knowing they had ‘limited out’ versus         noted Ohio outdoor writer also joins us. Jeff has
                                                            fished Lake Erie for many years and has a vast
taking 7-8 fish last year knowing they were short of
their limit of 10 fish. Go figure.                          knowledge of “North Coast” fishing. Welcome Bud
                                                            and Jeff! Good fishing to everyone this year and we’ll
                                                            see you on the water!
Unfortunately, many anglers are missing out on the fun
this year. Several charter captains I know have
reported that their bookings are ‘way down’. Low
water and poor fishing early last year have kept many
anglers from coming back to the lake. These things                        Editorial Correction
                                                               In the Spring 2001 issue the photo on page
naturally go in cycles. Next year the captains could
likely be reporting that bookings are up based on the         31 was mis-labeled. The fish pictured is a
                                                              King Salmon, not a Lake Trout.
great fishing experienced this year. Let’s hope the
fishing conditions keep up through the summer months
and into the fall.

As a former Fisheries Biologist and current avid
walleye fisherman I greatly appreciate the recent
work of the Lake Erie Committee of the Great Lakes
Fishery Commission in significantly lowering the quota
                                                                    Advertise in
for walleyes in the lake. Their action of reducing the
lake-wide Total Allowable Catch (or TAC) from 7.7
                                                                  Lake Erie Walleye
million fish to 3.4 million fish sends a message indicat-
ing that the walleye stocks in Lake Erie need help.                   Magazine
Hopefully this action will mark the beginning of a
strong walleye comeback.
                                                                     Full Page ............$400
                                                                     Half Page ...........$200
Let’s be cautious here, though. It’s not realistic to
expect walleyes to return to the numbers of the mid                  Quarter Page .....$100
80s. Why? Over the years the ecology of Lake Erie                     Business Card ...$ 50
has changed from ‘eutrophic’ to ‘mesotrophic to
'oligotrophic’ meaning that the carrying capacity (how                              Call
much biomass a lake can sustain) has been reduced.
Since walleyes are at the top of the food chain in the                 1 800 347-4519
lake, it is only logical to deduce that lower biomass at                      or visit
the bottom of the food change will carry forward to
lower biomass (fewer walleyes) at the top.
                                                                    www.walleye.com for more
                                                                      information regarding
That being said, we don’t really know at this point how              advertising opportunities
many walleyes good old Lake Erie can sustain. The
recent fish management strategies in lowering quotas
and limits will allow the walleyes to rebound some-
6
 LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                            SUMMER 2001




                   The 2001 Walleye Report
                                                      by
                                                  Rick Kubb
                                      1.7 million fish, about 51 percent of   recovered by fishermen for a

I
    n each summer issue of Lake
    Erie Walleye Magazine, we         the TAC. Ontario’s share of the         single season reporting rate of
    provide a synopsis of the         TAC is about 1.4 million fish, or       2.3%. This inter-agency tagging
walleye fishery in Lake Erie based    about 43 percent. The remaining         study will continue to provide
on the scientific reports produced    estimated 6 percent of the TAC is       valuable information regarding
by the fisheries management           divided among Michigan, Pennsyl-        walleye movements throughout the
biologists from the states of         vania and New York waters of            lake. Figure 1 indicates the
Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and      Lake Erie.                              locations where Raisin River
New York.                                                                     tagged walleyes were recovered in
                                               Michigan Waters                2000. Remarkably, a few fish
We’ll report on the estimated size               of Lake Erie                 from the Raisin River tag site
of the walleye population in Lake                                             moved as far east as Buffalo, NY
Erie, walleye growth and migration,   In 2000 anglers harvested an            to the far eastern basin of Lake
catch rates, and other biological     estimated 252,281 walleyes from         Erie.
factors related to the walleye fish   the Michigan waters of Lake Erie.
stocks in Lake Erie.                  Of these, a total of 205,215 wall-                Ohio Waters
                                      eyes were taken by private anglers                of Lake Erie
    Walleye quotas for 2001           (81%) and 47,066 fish were taken
                                      by charter boat anglers (19%).          In the year 2000 an estimated .93
The Lake Erie Committee of the        Walleye fishing peaked in the month     million (combined private and
Great Lakes Fishery Commission        of July with 131,763 fish caught        charter catch) walleyes were
for the third year in a row has       (Chart 1). More than 55% of the         caught in Ohio waters of Lake
reduced the total allowable catch     total annual walleye harvest            Erie. This is down just slightly
(TAC) of walleyes. The TAC for        occurred in the month of July.          from 1999 (chart 2). The year
2001 has been set at 3.4 million      Overall angler effort in 2000           2000 private boat harvest of .68
fish, down 50% percent from the       increased slightly to reach the         million fish was a 2% decrease
2000 TAC of 7.7 million fish. The     highest level since 1994.               from 1999. Targeted effort of 2.2
1999 TAC was higher still at 10                                               million angler hours was 16%
million fish.                         Age 2,3, and 4 (1998, 1997, and         lower than in 1999. Walleye
                                      1996 year classes) walleyes             harvest was the second lowest
The committee took this action as a   dominated the walleye harvest,          estimated since the survey began
result of declining walleye fish      comprising 87% of the catch.            in 1975.
stocks since the mid 1990s. It is     Harvested and age 2, 3, and 4
believed that reducing the TAC by     walleyes averaged 14.3 inches, 16.9     In 2000 there were a total number
this significant amount over the      inches and 18.5 inches in total         of 907 licensed charter guides.
next few years will help boost the    length.                                 This was a four percent drop from
walleye stocks.                                                               1999 and well below the peak of
                                      In 2000 a total of 6,241 walleyes       1,209 licensed charter guides in
Ohio and Ontario receive the          were tagged by Ontario, Ohio,           1989. The 2000 charter boat
majority of the walleye TAC. Of       Pennsylvania, New York and              walleye harvest of .25 million fish
the 2001 TAC of 3.4 million           Michigan biologists at eight Lake       was a dramatic 26% lower than in
walleyes, Ohio’s share is just over   Erie sites. A total of 130 tags were    1999. The majority of the walleye
                                                                              sport harvest was from the 1996
                                                                                                              7
LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                                  SUMMER 2001



and the 1998 year class. Age 5          lake. Figure 2 indicates where         tember took over 20,000 walleyes
and older walleye constituted 30%       previously tagged walleyes (tagging    (chart 4). The five year average
of the lakewide catch.                  sites were Sandusky River,             catch for September is less than
                                        Sandusky Bay and Cedar Point           5,000 walleyes.
Walleye size in Ohio waters             areas) were captured by anglers.
averaged 19 inches and 2.4              The majority of the fish tagged        The average size of walleyes caught
pounds. The average size for            from the Sandusky River, Sandusky      in Pennsylvania waters in 2000 was
walleyes increased from west to         Bay and Cedar Point areas were         24.3 inches. This was an increase
east (chart 3, figure 3). In District   caught at points further east with     of over 2 inches from the previous
1 (western basin) walleyes caught       some traveling to the far eastern      year. Walleye age ranged from 3 to
averaged 18.3 inches and just over      basin of Lake Erie. Many of            12 years with 7 year old fish (93
2 pounds. The average age of            these fish migrate back to the         year class) accounting for the
walleyes caught in District 1 was       western portions of Lake Erie          greatest proportion (18%) of the
just under 4 years. In District 3       during the fall months.                catch.
(eastern part of the central basin)
walleyes taken were significantly             Pennsylvania Waters                        New York Waters
larger and older, averaging 23                   of Lake Erie                              of Lake Erie
inches and 4.5 pounds. The
average age walleye in District 3       A very strong 1996 year class          In 2000 the sport fishing angling
was 6.5 years, over 2.5 years older     should sustain the 2001 walleye        effort in New York waters of Lake
than walleyes taken in District 1.      sport fishery at or near the 2000      Erie was an estimated 424,563
                                        level. This will still represent a     angler hours which was the lowest
           Walleye Diet                 general decline in walleye fishing     seen in the 13 year time series of
                                        success from the previous few          this creel survey. The lower fishing
What were walleyes eating last          years.                                 effort is attributed in part to difficult
year? In the western basin                                                     low water conditions that made it
walleyes fed mainly on shad and         The numbers of older walleye are       difficult to launch boats at several
alewives. These clupeid species         expected to remain in the popula-      launch ramps. A total estimated
represented 86% of the total            tion because of low exploitation       walleye harvest was 28,594 fish, up
walleye diet in the western basin.      rates and the Pennsylvania waters      slightly from the 23,134 walleye
The diet differed dramatically in       will produce good numbers of large     taken in 1999 (chart 5).
the central basin Ohio waters of        ‘trophy’ sized walleyes in 2001.
Lake Erie. Central basin walleyes       The large 1999 year class will also    The 2000 walleye sport fishery was
fed mainly on shiners and rainbow       produce good numbers of 2 year         centered in offshore waters between
smelt (Figure 2). Walleyes also         old fish. These will show up in late   Dunkirk and Irving, New York;
fed on round gobies in the central      summer walleye catches.                areas east and west produced a
basin. The amount of round gobies                                              markedly lower harvest. Walleye
found in the stomachs of walleyes       In 2000 anglers caught an esti-        angling quality and fishing effort in
has been fairly consistent over the     mated 84,410 walleyes in Pennsyl-      the vicinity of Barcelona and areas
past three years ranging from 5%        vania waters. This represents a        east of Sturgeon Point were particu-
in 1998 to 9% in 1999 and 8% in         9% decrease from 1999 levels. In       larly poor during 2000.
2000.                                   2000 walleye angler effort was
                                        estimated to be 244,116 hours, a       The overall targeted walleye catch
       Walleye Migration                decrease of 38% from 1999.             rate during the 2000 fishing season
                                                                               was .15 fish per hour which ranks
Tag and recapture studies of            The walleye catch peaked in July       walleye fishing quality very similar to
walleye in Ohio waters over the         (33,668 fish). Last year the fishing   the previous 7 years.
years have indicated that these fish    season was prolonged with excel-
migrate extensively throughout the      lent weather and anglers in Sep-       The average total length of walleyes
                                                                               in 2000 was 23.7 inches.
8
LAKE ERIE WALLEYE   SUMMER 2001




                             9
LAKE ERIE WALLEYE   SUMMER 2001




10
LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                     SUMMER 2001




                    Try This Walleye Recipe

                             Simple
                        Marinated Walleye
                    Ingredients: Italian Dressing &
                    walleye fillets

                    Preparation Instructions: Fillet
                    and skin walleye. Wash fillets and,
                    if preferred, soak in solution to
                    remove oil.

                    Place fillets in medium plastic
                    container bag (storage or freezer
                    type). Add enough Italian salad
                    dressing to cover the fillets (Wish-
                    bone Italian works well). Close
                    the bag tightly and place in the
                    refrigerator for at least four hours,
                    turning the bag several times to be
                    sure all parts of the fillets marinate.

                    Remove the fillets and place the
                    fillets onto large pieces of alumi-
                    num foil, one fillet per sheet. Leave
                    enough dressing with the fillets to
                    keep them moist. Fold the alumi-
                    num over the fillets and seal each
                    package.

                    Place each package of aluminum
                    on a hot outdoor grill. Cook several
                    minutes on each side, then care-
                    fully open the package (careful - it
                    will let out hot steam). If not done,
                    close up and continue to cook until
                    fish flakes.


                                   Visit
                    WWW.WALLEYE.COM
                          for the latest
                       Lake Erie walleye
                         fishing reports
                                                       11
LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                             SUMMER 2001




                Diving Planes for Erie 'Eyes
                                                 by
                                             Mark Hicks



C
         aptain Bob Troxel’s first    “I really didn’t know what to         The relatively low cost of diving
         experience with diving       expect,” says Troxel. “But I didn’t   planes, plus the fact that other
         planes                                                                             anglers were
illustrates why these                                                                       enjoying excellent
trolling devices                                                                            results with them,
should be mainstays                                                                         figured into Troxel’s
for every Lake Erie                                                                         decision to try this
walleye angler. The                                                                         method of trolling.
outing took place on                                                                        He still relies on the
a hot July afternoon                                                                        same brand of diver
several years ago.                                                                          he started with-Luhr
                                                                                            Jensen’s Dipsy
Drift fishing with                                                                          Diver.
weight-forward
spinners had                                                                                   ESSENTIAL
slumped badly after                                                                             DIVERS
the peak early
summer season.                                                                            Available in three
Faced with markedly                                                                      sizes that run at
clearer water due to                                                                     depths ranging from
the zebra mussel                                                                         14 to more than 50
invasion, Troxel                                                                         feet, the Dipsy
conceded that he                                                                         Diver is built around
would have to adopt                                                                      a hard plastic disk.
trolling methods to                                                                      The larger two sizes
catch boat-shy                                                                           come with an “O”
walleyes in deep                                                                         ring that expands
water.                                                                                   their diameters and
                                                                                         increases their
Heading his 30-foot                                                                      running depths.
cruiser, “This Is                                                                        These models also
Reality,” out from                                                                         feature an adjust-
Foxhaven Marina on                                                                         able release
Catawba Island,            Captain Bob Troxel with a big Lake Erie walleye taken           mechanism that
Troxel and two             on a diving plane and a spoon.                                  attaches to the rod
friends boated west                                                                        line. Snap the
of Rattlesnake Island                                                                      release in place
in the western basin. When the         have much time to think about it. and the Dipsy digs powerfully
graph began marking fish near the      In two hours we landed three      downward. When the release
bottom in 32 feet of water, they put   limits of big walleyes, including breaks free, the Dipsy flattens and
out four brand new diving planes       one over 11 pounds. It was        stops diving, eliminating its strong
matched with spoons fresh out of       unbelievable.”                    resistance.
their colorful packages.
12
 LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                               SUMMER 2001



                                                                               release to reset itself and averts
                                                                               the chore of winding the diver all
                                                                               the way up. The Kastaway comes
                                                                               in three sizes that dive from 50 to
                                                                               80 feet

                                                                               Leaders on most divers must not
                                                                               exceed the rod’s length so that fish
                                                                               may be reeled close enough to net
                                                                               them. A short leader helps when
                                                                               trolling spoons, since it gives them
  A diving plane followed by a spoon is a deadly combination                   a snappier action. Long minnow
  for big walleyes throughout Lake Erie.                                       crankbaits and other lures, how-
                                                                               ever, may trigger more strikes
                                                                               when trolled on longer leaders.
                                        swath. Some charter captains set
What makes the Dipsy so versatile       out as many as eight divers at a       The directional Slide Diver, from
is its directional feature. On a 0      time. The center divers run deep-      U-Charters Inc., overcomes this
setting, the diver runs true. But       est, while those set to sweep          dilemma. The rod line feeds
when an underside weight is             farthest away from the boat run        through the Slide Diver’s release
adjusted to the right or left of        shallowest.                            mechanism, so you may set the
center on specific settings from I                                             lure back as far as you wish from
to 3, the diver angles to the left or   Another directional diving plane,      the diver. When a walleye strikes,
right side of the boat. The higher      Kastaway’s Diver, features a           the release opens and the diver
the setting, the farther the diver      magnetic release. Should the           slides down the line to the fish.
swings out.                             release inadvertently pop free-a       Randy Even, who designed the
                                        common problem with these types        Slide Diver, recommends using an
Using different settings spreads the    of divers-simply drop the rod tip      abrasion resistant line, such as 20-
lines, which prevents tangles and       sharply to put a little slack in the   pound Berkley XT.
increases the width of the trolling     line. This allows the magnetic
                                                                               Diving planes are typically set back
                                                                               from the boat 75 to 180 feet. Most
                                                                               divers come with charts that
                                                                               indicate how deep they run at
                                                                               different settings. With 125 feet of
                                                                               line out, for example, the standard
                                                                               Kastaway Diver reaches 55 feet at
                                                                               the 1 (center) setting, 48 feet at the
                                                                               3 setting and 42 feet at the 5
                                                                               setting. The actual depths vary
                                                                               depending on the type of line used,
                                                                               trolling speed, influence of under-
                                                                               water currents and other factors.

                                                                               Most divers come in a variety of
                                                                               colors that may help attract
   Clockwise from top: Slide Diver; No. 1 Dipsy Diver; No. 0                   walleyes. Precut reflective tape
   Dipsy Diver with "O" ring; Kastaway Diver.                                  panels also may be purchased for
                                                                               Dipsy Divers.
                                                                                                                  13
LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                                 SUMMER 2001




                                                                                A 25-pound super braid has the
                                                                                diameter of 6- to 8-pound
                                                                                monofilament, so it lets divers run
                                                                                deeper. Because this type of line
                                                                                has virtually no stretch, rods
                                                                                respond more vigorously to strikes,
                                                                                and the releases on the divers
                                                                                break cleanlier. Avoid Dacron
                                                                                braided lines, however, since they
                                                                                prevent divers from reaching
                                                                                maximum depths.

                                                                                These days, Troxel runs Berkley
                                                                                FireLine. It handles more like
                                                                                monofilament, but retains the
                                                                                virtues of the super braids. How-
                                                                                ever, he still runs a clear, 20-pound
                                                                                monofilament leader to his lure,
                                                                                which he believes is less visible to
                                                                                walleyes.
     Directional diving disks get lures deep and swing them                     “A heavy leader doesn’t seem to
     out from the boat's path.                                                  affect the bite,” he says, “and I’ve
                                                                                never snapped a fish off with one.”
                                                                                Many anglers use snubbers when
                                        Light, big-water trolling reels with    trolling diving planes. Typically a 6-
        DIVER TACKLE                    low gear ratios ease the task of        inch length of rubber tubing, a
                                        dredging up diving planes. Fill reels   snubber acts as shock absorber
“The bigger disk divers pull hard,”     with line that withstands the           between the rod line and the diver.
says Capt. Troxel. “They require        relentless drag of a diving plane.      It prevents a sudden jolt, such as
rod holders and stout rods.”            Troxel started out with 20-pound        bumping bottom or a hard strike
Several manufactures offer rods         monofilament. Though it served          from a big fish, from breaking off
specifically de- signed for diving      well, he switched to one of the new     the diver or the lure. Snubbers are
planes. They generally run from         super-strong braided lines, as have     especially important when using
about 7 to more than 10 feet in         many other anglers who dote on          lighter leaders.
length and boast strong butt            diving planes.
sections with limber tips. Troxel
has settled on an 8 1/2-foot model
made by Daiwa.
                                         Captain Emrisko trolls up
                                         to six divers at a time.
“You need that soft tip,” he says,
                                         He uses rods of three
“so you can see the rod rattle when
                                         different sizes to keep
a fish hits. A small fish may not
                                         the lines spread. A brace
snap the release. If you don’t see
                                         of 8-foot rods on the
the strike, you may drag it for quite
                                         transom is flanked by 9-
a while. You have to watch your
                                         foot rods and then a pair
rods closely and check them
                                         of 10-footers.
regularly.”

14
 LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                                SUMMER 2001



                                          shallower water that Troxel            be done many times a day to
                                          normally fishes.                       change or check lures. Here is
                                                                                 another instance where a new
                                          In the central and eastern             super line has a clear advantage.
                                          basins, where walleyes regu-           Its low stretch lets you free a
                                          larly swim 55 feet or deeper, the      diver’s release with the rod, even
                                          largest directional divers rule.       on a long line.
                                          Capt. Andy Emrisko, who
                                          docks his 27-foot Wave Walker          When starting out in the morning,
                                          at Cleveland’s Lakefront State         Emrisko sets his lines back at
                                          Park, usually sets out six No. I       different lengths on each side of
                                          Dipsy Divers.                          the boat. The port lines, beginning
                                                                                 with the transom rod, may run
                                            To help separate the divers,         back 85, 135 and 175 feet. The
                                            Emrisko employs three braces         starboard lines may run 75, 125
                                            of rods in different lengths that    and 150 feet. If walleyes show a
                                            rest in three pairs of holders.      preference for a particular setup,-
                                            The two holders on each comer        he duplicates it with the matching
                                            of the transom support 8-foot        rod on the opposite side of the
                                            rods matched with divers set on      boat.
  Diving planes require stout               a 0 or I setting. The next pair of
  rods.                                 holders on the gunnels receive 9-                     LURES
                                        foot rods with Dipsy Divers
                                        adjusted to a 2 or 2 1/2 setting. A      Throughout Lake Erie, directional
         BASIC SETUPS                   little farther up the gunnels, a third   divers sack more walleyes with
                                        pair of holders carry 10-foot
 Since he trolls primarily in the       rods connected to divers
shallower western basin, Troxel         adjusted to a 3 or 3 1/2 setting.
doesn’t have to get his divers as       Each rod reaches farther out
deep as anglers do in the central       than the next, and each Dipsy
and eastern basins. He relies on his    swims farther out to the side
Bottom Line LCG to determine            than the next.
how deep the walleyes are holding
and then runs his divers at that        “The more line you let out,”
depth or slightly above it.             says Ennisko, “the deeper a
                                        Dipsy goes. But once you get
His two outside rods drag No. I         much past 150 feet, you hit a
Dipsy Divers, on a 3 setting, which     neutral point where it goes no
pulls them well away from the boat.     deeper. “Even so, I may run it
He lets out only enough line to         back 200 feet to get my lure
reach the fish he sees suspended        farther away from my boat
on his LCG. The two center rods         noise.”
pull No. 0 Dipsy Divers, the second
largest size. He sets them back         When trolling a diver on 200
about 200 feet to intercept fish that   feet of monofilament, it is
may have been bothered by his           extremely difficult to pop the
boat passing overhead. The larger       release by sweeping the rod
                                        back. Monofilament has too               Line counter reels work well
No. I Dipsy would plow bottom if
                                        much stretch. This chore must            with diver rods.
set that far back in the 40-foot and
                                                                                                                  15
LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                               SUMMER 2001



                                                                              off center with pliers, which he
                                                                              believes improves their efficiency.

                                                                              If walleyes ignore standard spoons,
                                                                              Emrisko digs out boxes filled with
                                                                              reflective tape and marking
                                                                              pens in myriad colors to modify
                                                                              existing patterns.

                                                                              “Change is the name of the game,
                                                                              says Emrisko. “If I have something
                                                                              that’s working, I leave it in the
                                                                              water. But if haven’t caught
                                                                              anything for awhile, I change it.
                                                                              Lake Erie’s changing. The water
                                                                              clarity’s changing. Everything is
                                                                              changing. You’ve got to change
  Clockwise from top left: Northern King 28; Northern King                    your baits too.”
  C5S1; Bay De Noc's Flutter Lake Taker; Storm's
  Thunderstick Jr.; Thunkerstick; Thin Fin; Luhr Jensen's                     Changes were unnecessary during
  Flutter spoon; Pro King.                                                    a hazy July morning aboard the
                                                                              Wave Walker when I joined
                                                                              Emrisko, George McKenzie, Mike
spoons than any other lure. Spoons     Every spare compartment in             Shott, Art Regnelli and Bob Daniel,
grow increasingly effective as the     Emrisko’s cruiser overflows with       all northeast Ohio fishermen.
water warms in mid- summer, and        flat, utility style boxes crammed      After boating 13 miles north of
they continue producing into the       with lures, most of which are          Cleveland, Emrisko set out four
fall.                                  spoons. He owns spoons in every        diver rods rigged with spoons. He
                                       size, color and configuration          began putting out boards that
Combine active walleyes with           imaginable. And, of course, he has     would carry additional lines, but
flashing spoons and you’ve got the     several of each type, just in case     was interrupted when a 6-pound
makings for a heavy catch. In the      that’s what they’re hitting on at      walleye slammed a spoon on one
western basin, Troxel dotes on         any given time. It’s a wonder his      of the divers.
Flash Back Spoons in gold with         boat stays afloat with all that
chartreuse prism tape, and black       metal.                                 After netting the fish, Emrisko
with green prism tape and a white                                             went back to work on the boards,
belly. Other proven colors include     A 3 3/8-inch Pentwater Spoon in        but had to stop again to net another
silver and white, each dressed with    the 501 pattern has been especially    fish. He normally sets out board
various colors of prism tape. Troxel   productive for Emrisko. It’s pink on   lines in less than 15 minutes. That
also favors Bay De Noc’s Flutter       one side and black on the other        morning it took him an hour. The
Laker Taker. Both spoons measure       with purple ladderback tape. He        walleyes wouldn’t leave the spoons
about 4 inches in length.              also highly recommends the             alone. By the time the boards were
                                       watermelon pattern on any type of      finally set, 10 respectable fish
“Sometimes big spoons put wall-        spoon. Other spoons that regularly     graced our cooler.
eyes off,” says Troxel. “Dropping      swim behind Emrisko’s divers
down to something like a 2-inch        include those made by Pro Spoons,      Things slowed somewhat after
Flute Spoon from Bay De Noc            Silver Streak and Northern King.       that, with the board rods and the
may be what it takes to get them       He prefers treble hooks to single      diver rods both taking additional
started.”                              hooks and bends the points slightly    fish. When the sun burned off the

16
 LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                            SUMMER 2001



                                                                             When walleyes grow aggressive
                                                                             enough to nail spoons, Johnson
                                                                             feeds them hardware. He trolls at
                                                                             a faster clip with spoons, usually
                                                                             from about 2 to 2.4 m.p.h.
                                                                             Emrisko prefers an even faster
                                                                             pace with spoons, from 2.5 to 2.9
                                                                             m.p.h. He feels that covering more
                                                                             territory pays off better than a
                                                                             slower trolling speed.

                                                                             Water temperature helps Capt.
                                                                             Pete Alex determine when to get
                                                                             serious with divers. He heads out
                                                                             on Lake Erie’s central basin in his
                                                                             Vision Quest charter boat from
                                                                             Erie Angler Marina in Erie, Penn-
                                                                             sylvania.

                                                                             “You don’t have to see them on
                                                                             your graph to catch them,” says
 Another walleye falls for a spoon trailing a diving plane.                  Alex. “When the water tempera-
                                                                             ture gets up around 70 degrees,
                                                                             some walleyes drop down to the
haze and the breeze died early in     says. “My techniques have              35- to 40-foot range. That’s when I
the afternoon, the action slowed      changed. You want to attract the       start catching more fish with
considerably. “It’s always tough      fish, but if you put out too much      divers.”
when the lake gets flat,” said        flash you’ll spook them.” Johnson
Emrisko.                              reduces flash when running             Shallow running minnow imitators
                                      crawler harnesses by cutting back      perform well with divers for Alex.
He responded by changing spoons       to one blade. Some of his har-         He especially likes Storm’s
in earnest. When he finally found a   nesses sport two treble hooks,         ThunderStick, Jr., ThunderStick,
pattern that worked-a silver spoon    which he rigs with three crawlers      and Rattlin’ Thin Fin. Early in the
dressed with green ladderback         so they all hang straight. It’s a      morning and on dark days, he goes
tape-he switched several other        virtual smorgasbord for walleyes.      with purple or green patterns.
rods over to the same combination                                            Firetiger is a proven producer. On
and managed to fill our limits.       “When I run spinners,” he says, “I     sunny days he runs metallic
                                      troll at about 1.4 to 1.5 miles per    colored lures behind his divers,
Though spoons account for most of     hour.                                  such as metallic rainbow trout,
Emrisko’s walleyes on divers, he                                             black/silver and blue/silver.
has success with other lures. Capt.   “The problem with crawler har-
Ron Johnson, who makes a habit        nesses is that they attract a lot of   In the eastern basin, Ted Malota,
of winning major walleye tourna-      attention from sheephead and other     also acclaimed for his skill with
ments out of Fairport Harbor with     undesirable fish. They pick the bait   diving planes, runs a variety of
diving planes, has added crawler      off your lures, and you may be         lures. This Hamburg, New York,
harnesses to the lures he carries     dragging a small fish without          resident frequently teams up with
aboard his boat, “Thumper.”           knowing it. That wastes a lot of       Capt. Bill King who runs his
                                      time.”                                 Searcher One out of Chadwick
“The water clarity is unreal,” he                                            Bay Marina in Dunkirk Harbor,
                                                                                                              17
LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                                   SUMMER 2001



New York. The water clarity in the         “with a piece of a crawler just         non-directional divers afford other
deep eastern basin exceeds that            over an inch long. We hook it right     options. Luhr Jensen’s Jet Diver,
found anywhere else in Lake Erie,          through the head so it doesn’t          which floats at rest, rates high
which presents special challenges.         effect the spoon’s action.”             with Lake Erie anglers. It’s
                                                                                   available in five sizes that dive
“We’ve used Dipsy Divers over the            GETTING DEEPER WITH                   from 10 to 50 feet deep in 10-foot
past 8 years,” says Malota. “We’ve              DIVING PLANES                      increments.
gotten into finer stuff because of the
water clarity caused by the zebra          Walleyes in the central and             The smaller Jet Divers see the
mussels.”                                  eastern basins often drop below         most play on Lake Erie when
                                           the normal running depths of most       used in conjunction with trolling
One adjustment includes moving up          diving disks. One way to get            boards.
to 10 1/2- foot diver rods that            divers deeper is by adding weight.
accommodate longer 10-foot leaders         With a Dipsy Diver, attach a bead       Luhr Jensen’s Deep Six features
made from 10-pound Trilene XT.             chain sinker between the release        a trip action release and comes in
Malota believes longer, thinner            and the rod line.                       three sizes that dive to 40, 60 and
leaders coax strikes from walleyes                                                 90 feet respectively. The
that may shy from divers sporting          Kastaway’s Diver features an eye        company’s Pink Lady, billed as
shorter leaders. He is also convinced      on its integral bottom weight           the original diving sinker, has a
that longer leaders allow the spoons       where you may fasten an addi-           slide bar that eliminates the diving
to work with a more alluring action        tional weight with a snap swivel.       angle when a fish strikes.
when the boat snakes back and forth        The manufacturer, Kulis, Inc.,
in “S” turns.                              claims that each ounce of extra         The Fish Seeker, from Fish
                                           weight increases the diving depth       Seeker, dives to depths of 70 feet.
“If you’re making “S” turns,” says         by about 5 feet.                        When a walleye strikes, it flips
Malota, “the outside diver runs                                                    over and surfaces.
faster. The inside one slows.              Wire line affords another option,
They’re rising and falling like            though it does groove rod guides.       Only two non-direction divers
pistons. That’s where the majority of      Malota claims that his Dipsy            should be run at any given time,
our strikes come from.”                    Divers have hit bottom 65 feet          and they should be trolled from
                                           deep when trolled with wire. The        opposite corners of the transom to
Lately, worm harness have been             wire line guru in the central basin,    avoid tangling.
working well for Malota and King,          Art Lyon of Conneaut, Ohio, relies
particularly a little number flaunting a   on 20-pound, single strand Will-        This article by Mark Hicks is a
pink and white willow leaf blade with      iams or American brand wire for         reprint (Chapter 9) from Mark's
a silver back ahead of a string of red     trolling divers.                        book, "Lake Erie Walleye". His
and white beads.                                                                   book can be ordered by calling
                                                                                    1-800-447-8238.
                                           “They go deeper with wire,” says
In midsummer, when the smelt run           Lyon, “and you get real snappy
small, the big hitter for Malota and       releases. The rods are a lot more
King is a 2-inch C5 Northern King          sensitive, too. Wire weakens if you
spoon in black and pink with a silver      get a kink in it, but guys who use it
back. Copper with orange is also           regularly don’t have too much                     Catch
‘good. Later in the season, larger         trouble.”                                   Lake Erie Walleye
spoons get the call, such as Northern                                                   on the Internet
King’s 28, and Luhr Jensen’s Flutter       OTHER DIVING PLANES                                at:
Spoon in silver and blue.                                                             WWW.WALLEYE.COM
                                            While directional disks comprise
“We tip all our spoons,” says Malota,      the most versatile diving planes,

18
 LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                            SUMMER 2001




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                                       Learn how and where the experts
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                                       Lake Erie. Includes 41 detailed
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                                                                                                             19
LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                             SUMMER 2001




                   Fishing Erie's Central Basin
                                   Tips for Walleye and Steelhead
                                                        by
                                                     Bud Riser



I
    f your nose is buried in this        crawling a weight forward spinner    If that doesn’t do it, I set up my
     article, you’re probably thinking   generally produces a couple early   next drift from 10 to 14 feet and
     in the back of your mind, “How      AM fish in skinny water.                          maybe switch to a
much is gas going
                                                                                           slip sinker and worm
to cost me to find
                                                                                           harness combo.
fish”? Can I
                                                                                           Bango!—one or two
catch ‘em close in?
                                                                                           more fish, including
Sure you can...it
                                                                                           the world’s largest
just depends on
                                                                                           sheephead.
how many jet
skiers you want to
                                                                                          This time of year, I
get buzzed off by.
                                                                                          still like silver, gold or
                                                                                          chartreuse color
 My fishing day
                                                                                          combinations. No
usually starts off
                                                                                          matter what your lure
like this. That
                                                                                          choice is, concentrate
chirping robin goes
                                                                                          on using the lightest
off at 4:15 AM
                                                                                          possible baits but still
next to the win-
                                                                                          maintain contact with
dow.
                                                                                          the bottom.
45 minutes later,
I’m creeping along
                                                                                          By this time, it’s 9:00
the Lake Erie
                                                                                          and a boat or two has
shoreline dropoffs
                                                                                          showed up. I
in 17 to 27 foot
                                                                                          usually slide into 17 to
depths anywhere
                                                                                          27foot depths and try
from Huron to
                                                                                          blade bait jigging or
Conneaut.
                                                                                          casting a worm
                                                                                          harness in a sweeping
 I’m a die-hard
                                                                                          arc pattern (casting
lead chucker so I
                                                                                          the swing as charter
begin my morning
                                                                                          captains call it).
a little shallower
than I probably
                                                                                           One or two more
should...usually in 9
                                                                                          fish, a couple of
to 12 feet...just
                                                                                          smallmouth bass and
because I can.
                                                                                          a perch or two...not
Bouncing bottom       Albert Moll, of Avon Lake, OH, proudly displays a chunky            bad for 3 or 4 drifts.
with jigs and         'eye that fell to a Northland Tackle "Rattlin' Rainbow              9:45 to 10:00AM and
minnows or            Spinner" worm rig. Photo by Bud Riser.                              more boats show up
20
 LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                              SUMMER 2001



                                                 thermocline. It usually       off Huron, Lorain, Bay Village,
                                                 looks like a fuzzy, wavy      Cleveland and points east early last
                                                 band on your depthfinder      year. Walleyes were spread more
                                                 and is about 5 or 6 feet      widely but those darn trout were
                                                 thick, with 67-68 degree      everywhere! It was a steelhead
                                                 water on top. That’s          bonanza!
                                                 where the walleye are,
                                                 above the thermocline.         My best day produced 30 steelies on
                                                                               line by 12:30 in the afternoon. Cap-
                                                  I target my trolling baits   tain Bob MacFarland on the
                                                 for walleye to run from       “Naughty Buoys” had about 45 on
                                                 32 to 42 feet deep while      and one chinook as well.
                                                 my steelhead baits are
                                                 set to run the deeper         My trip was with two pals who had
                                                 part of the thermocline.      never been trolling before. Here’s
                                                 Colder temperatures           how we chase open water walleyes
                                                 hold more steelies as it      and troutskiis. First, set up a com-
                                                 cools from about 65 to        munications hotline. I never hit the
                                                 58 degrees. It’s easy to      water without calling at least five
                                                 find with a temperature       friends to check action as well as
                                                 probe.                        internet fishing websites.

                                                   Right now, I’ll bet          Charter Captain, Andy Emrisko, of
                                                 you're still thinking, “20    “Wavewalker” charters uses his own
 Small spoons like the Fire-Eye minnow           miles out??” There’s          unique formula. “If the TV weather
 proved deadtly on walleye & steelhead.          that gasoline question        says the lake temperature is 48
                                                 again.                        degrees, I start out in 48 feet of
                                                                               water. 55 degrees finds me looking
along with the first jet skier,         In June and early July, walleye
churning up the shallows. Now it’s     and steelhead action takes
time to make the offshore run.         place within a reasonable
                                       distance from shore. 3 to 6
 Many mornings may find that           miles out can be a good early
you’ve already limited out on          summer starting point and you
walleyes and you may want to play      can work your way out from
around with smallmouth bass in 18      there.
to 30 foot depths or fish for perch
in 45 to 55 feet instead.               Last year anglers found
                                       schools of walleye and steelies
 I prefer to get out the heavy
artillary and troll offshore for
steelhead trout and walleyes.
They are often found in the same             Northland
area of the water column as June/            Tacke's "Rock
July temps warm up and the                   Runner" bottom
summer thermocline sets up.                  bouncers account
                                             for many shore-
 I generally turn the gain way up or         line hugging
to full on my fishfinder to show the         'eyes

                                                                                                                21
LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                               SUMMER 2001



around 55 feet”, explains Emrisko.     white bass as they chowed down         Rattling Rainbow Spinner rigs have
 “I don’t know if it works every-      on emerald shiner minnows. We          been a top favorite of mine for
where, but off Cleveland, it’s been    could easily cast to them that         years. Their Rock Runner bottom
fairly reliable.                       evening with spoons or spinners.       bouncer and spinner combo has
                                                                              been especially deadly along Lake
 Captain John Solecki starts hitting   Trolling baits for walleye vary        Erie shoreline breaks and dropoffs.
walleyes off Rocky River and Bay       greatly from small-bladed
Village, Ohio in mid-June when         Northland Tackle worm rigs to #6        Buy bottom bouncers heavy
lake temps approach the mid 60’s.      or #7 double willow leaf worm          enough to run you line as straight
“I like to start shallow (45 feet)     harnesses that “Solucky” charters      up-and-down as possible for
and work my way north from             likes to run. Many captains like       maximum sensitivity and hookset.
there”, says the skipper of the        crankbaits like Reef Runners,          2 to 3 ouncers are usually good to
“Solucky” charter boat.                Bombers and Storm Thundersticks        30 feet, depending on water
                                       off side planers. Recently             conditions. Slow trolling with a lift-
  John is known for trolling worm      walleye have shown a preference        and-bounce has worked best for
harness rigs off Dipsy Divers and      for smaller stick baits over the       me. Did I also mention that I
from his planer boards. “We’ll         larger 25A Bomber sizes.               prefer using Berkley Fireline or
often run 12 and even 14 lines until                                          Spiderwire?? It really helps a lot
we find what color and action they     Spoon sizes dropped into the mini      with this technique.
prefer. Then, we switch a couple       and micro mini sizes for both
more lines to that type of lure or     walleye and trout but last year’s      Steelhead showed a consistent
color”.                                results showed NK-28’s, Wolver-        preference for smaller spoons but
                                       ine Silver Streaks and Pro Kings in    the occasional fish would still hit
 A number of guys in our informa-      standard sizes working well again.     full-sized ones like Pro-Kings or
tion network actually create a grid                                           NK-28’s. Any spoon with a
chart of the areas we fish. It’s        One thing we learned over the         copper back has been consistent
unbelievably helpful at a quick        past three years was that if fish      for both ‘eyes and trout in
glance. There’s a lot of water to      show a preference for smaller          Cleveland’s offshore waters.
cover and if you have 3 to 5 boats     cranks and spoons, you better use      Rainbow trout, watermelon, clown,
covering it, a lot of guesswork is     them and not try to force feed ‘em.    black and purple and green or blue
removed.                               Sure, we all probably own a couple     with silver combos were still good
                                       hundred dollars worth of lures, but    colors.
 The last 2 years found walleye in     if they’re too big or the wrong
depths of 32 to 70 feet of water,      color or action, it doesn’t mean a      The astounding new kids on the
both suspended and occasionally        thing.                                 block were Northland Tackle’s Fire
hugging bottom. From early to                                                 Eye spoons and the Michigan
mid-June, don’t overlook those          I’m thrifty. It took me nearly half   Stinger Scorpions along with my
shoreline breaks for bottom-           a fishing season to buy smaller        favorite Wolverine Silver Streak
hugging walleyes.                      spoons but once I did, my central      and micro streak patterns. Colors
                                       basin success improved consider-       like “monkey puke, confusion,
Anglers have been extremely            ably. Apparently those walleyes        shrimp and boy/girl” became
successful both day and night          were simply feeding on smaller         common to hear on the radio last
trolling. “eyes will suspend higher    fish.                                  season.
toward the surface as the sun goes
down. It doesn’t take them long to      Even the worm harness rigs went        Trolling speeds are generally about
become active feeders at dusk.         with small-bladed gold or silver       2-2 1/2 mph for walleye while
                                       spinners producing best. Try gold      steelies like baits running a little
  I’ve actually witnessed a gang of    when the mayfly hatch is in full       “hotter” up to about 2 3/4 mph
steelhead slashing the surface like    swing. Northland Tackle’s              consistently. I travel everywhere
                                                                                     See Fishing Erie page 35
22
 LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                     SUMMER 2001



Lake Erie Fishing Guide
                                        Ted Takasaki's Newest Video - Just Released
         2001
                                                 Techniques of a Champion
       Available
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                                                       1998 In-Fisherman PWT Champion
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         Fishing Reports
    Charter & Lodging Info
  Lake & Weather Conditions
       Other Walleye Links
    ...and much much more
                                                                                                      23
LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                             SUMMER 2001




                                   Precision Jigging
                                                 by
                                   Ted Takasaki with Scott Richardson



T
        rolling is usually the ticket   or jigging, will keep your bait in   becomes clear that trolling does the
        when it comes to catching       front of the most fish for the       trick for walleyes that are scat-
        walleyes on the Great           longest period of time.              tered or suspended. This is nor-
Lakes. Spreading                                                                           mally true in the
your lines and sifting                                                                     warm, summer
through large areas of                                                                     months when wall-
water fast will often                                                                      eyes are on the move
connect you with                                                                           in search of sus-
active fish. But,                                                                          pended baitfish. Vary
trolling is not always                                                                     the choice of
the answer. Some-                                                                          crankbaits and the
times the situation                                                                        amount of line out or
calls for a presenta-                                                                      use a combination of
tion that lends itself to                                                                  snap weights and
pinpoint accuracy.                                                                         Lindy X-Change
That’s when it’s time                                                                      bottom bouncers with
to turn to a jig.                                                                          Hatchet Harnesses
                                                                                           and live bait to cover
The decision on which                                                                      the water column
presentation to choose                                                                     from top to bottom.
– jigging vs. trolling -                                                                   In-line planer boards
is dictated by how the                                                                     can spread your lines
walleyes are relating                                                                      to cover a wide path.
to structure on any
given day. Using                                                                   Experience has taught
electronics will tell                                                              us that walleyes will
you all you need to                                                                often hold tight to the
know before you ever                                                               bottom in small groups
wet a line. Just ask                                                               on the largest bodies
yourself one question                                                              of water. Rock piles,
as you watch the fish                                                              humps and reefs act
marks move across                                                                  like magnets in spring
the sonar screen.                                                                  and fall or when cold
Are walleyes dis-                                                                  fronts strike in places
persed over huge                                                                   like Lake Erie’s
areas or are they        Jigging is an effective technique when precision is       Western Basin or
tightly schooled and     required to reach walleyes held in structure or when      Little Bay de Noc.
holding close to         hugging the bottom.                                       At other times,
reefs, points, rock                                                                walleyes will hold in
piles or weeds?                                                                    dense cover, like the
Then picture which method, trolling Using this simple analysis, it     weed beds of Saginaw Bay. In all

24
  LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                              SUMMER 2001



of these cases, trolling would put      Lakes. Use a casting combination       to the top of a reef or hump
baits in the fish zone for only brief   like the Pinnacle TI66CAMH for         topping out in a foot or two of
moments. You’d spend more time          heavier jigs and deeper water.         water and retrieved slowly along
turning the boat around to make                                                the bottom back to the boat. For
another trolling pass than you          Mark the locations where you see       more finicky fish, dangle a smaller
would actually fishing. On the          fish on your GPS so you can return     jig below a Thill Float so it rides
other hand, specific spots can be       easily. Check out the rest of the      just off the bottom. Let the waves
worked precisely with a jig. Your       area and zig-zag slowly along          impart the action. Jigs of three-
bait will stay in front of a walleye    structure contours and weed edges      eighths, a half or three-quarters of
for longer periods of time.             at the depth where you first noticed   an ounce handle medium depths.
                                        fish. You might discover the           A Jumbo Fuzz-E-Grub weighing
            Here’s how                  infamous spot-on-a-spot that holds     five-eighths or an ounce can get
                                        an even larger school. When you        down to 50 feet and more. (Ted
Doing your homework before you          do, enter the GPS coordinates or       once led the Professional Walleye
launch is an important ingredient to    toss out a marker buoy. In addi-       Trail tournament on Lake Erie by
success on any fishing trip. But on     tion, listen to your marine radio.     using his trolling motor to thump big
the Great Lakes, information            Charter captains often exchange        Fuzz E Grubs on humps that rose 5
gathering is absolutely critical.       information and you might find a       feet from the bottom in 50 feet of
There’s just too much water to          pattern or another spot that can       water. His five fish weighed about
have to search by yourself when         help you.                              37 pounds.)
armed only with sonar and a rod
and reel. Ask clerks at bait shops      Successful jigging often demands a     If the the waves make it too rough
what areas and tactics are produc-      precise presentation well below the    to control the boat with an electric
ing. Have them mark your maps.          surface. Your ability to accomplish    motor, toss out an anchor or drift
Get the scoop on where the largest      that task depends on the conditions    with the wind to cover large areas.
concentrations of fish are and get      you face above. Are the waves          Control boat speed with a drift
GPS coordinates, if possible.           small or large? Can you hold your      sock, if needed. But whatever the
                                        boat still with an electric trolling   situation, be sure to use a jig heavy
Once on the water, run from spot        motor? If so, you can literally drop   enough to maintain bottom contact
to spot, then cruise each location      a jig on a walleye’s nose. A           at all times. Keep no more than a
slowly. Watch your sonar carefully      transducer on your trolling motor      45-degree angle between your line
to see how fish are relating to the     enables you to work your boat with     and the water’s surface when
available structure and cover.          precision on the edges of the          drifting to avoid slack in your line
Note the depth when you find a          structure.                             and missed fish.
concentration of walleyes. If they
are suspended 3 to 5 feet or more            Golden Rule of Jigging            Minnows are great a bait for the
off the bottom, break out the                                                  Great Lakes anytime. Emerald
trolling gear. If you are marking       Here’s the number one Golden           shiners are the most common.
fish tight to structure, you’ll be      Rule of Jigging - your jig must        Ask at the bait shops for what’s
using a jig and live bait. When         always be on or near the bottom        hot. Don’t be afraid to experiment,
jigging, I like to use a 6-1/2 foot     for it to be effective. You aren’t     though. Try two minnows on the
medium-heavy spinning rod with a        fishing high percentage, structure-    same hook. There are times when
fast tip like Pinnacle’s Tri-Wing       oriented unless it is.                 big walleyes seem to want big baits
TI66SPMH. Your reel should be                                                  especially in fall and very early
spooled with 8 or 10 pound              Common sense dictates that the         spring. Try larger minnows and
monofilament line, like Stren Super     shallower the fish or the slower the   longer plastic tails. Try a five-
Tough, that can withstand abra-         wind or current, the lighter the jig   eighths or 1-ounce jig dressed with
sions from zebra mussels and haul       can be. An eighth or quarter           a 4 inch or 6 inch plastic lizard like
in the big fish typical of the Great    ounce Fuzz-E-Grub jig can be cast      the ones bass fishermen use. It
                                                                                                                  25
LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                                   SUMMER 2001



works. Nightcrawlers and leeches           they over jig. Use very subtle
                                                                                            Fish Ohio's
work well as the water starts to           motions the majority of the time.
                                                                                              Lake Erie
warm up to above 50 degrees.
                                           Color matters. As a general rule                Artificial Reefs!
Sharpen hooks and bend out the             of thumb, brighter colors like
hook gaps slightly to improve hook         chartreuse, lime-green or orange,         Updated Locations of All
sets. Use stinger hooks, but some-         are good in dirty or stained water.       Lake Erie Artificial Reefs
times allow it to remain free.             Try subtle, more natural colors like    Based on ODNR/GEO Survey
Inserting the stinger’s barb into          white, black, blue or purple for           Side-Scan Sonar Data
small emerald shiners can make it          clearer water. Change up often             Updated August, 2000
appear unnatural.                          until you find the color that the
                                           walleyes want.                                         Lorain
Jig action is crucial. That was made                                                  Polish Fisherman’s Club Reef
crystal clear one frigid day when          Aggressive walleyes will really                     41 28 .076 N
Ted was fishing with walleye/muskie        “thunk” a jig. If so, set the hook                  82 12 .758 W
expert Jim Saric on Lake Erie. No          right away. But sometimes they
                                                                                           The Mountain Reef
one was catching anything, including       will gently suck the bait in their                41 28 .150 N
the charter boats anchored nearby.         mouth and just swim away. Get in                  82 12 .750 W
But that changed when a chilly Saric       the habit of watching your line. A
cast a three-eighth-ounce Fuzz-E-          few missed fish will alert you about                Lakewood
Grub to the top of a 12-foot reef and      whether you should “feed” them                   Cuyahoga County
let it fall to the bottom. As he           the jig and pause a little longer               Commissioners Reef
reached for a cup of coffee, his           before driving home the point.                    41 30 .175 N
shivering hand sent vibrations down                                                          81 47 .266 W
his rod, through the line and to the       The Great Lakes are big - there’s
                                                                                    1984 Experimental Reef Site “A”
jig. When he finally lifted the rod        no doubt about it. But, when the
                                                                                            41 30 .271 N
tip, a walleye was on. We took fish        walleyes are concentrated and                    81 47 .533 W
after fish during the next several         relating to structure, it time to jig
minutes by duplicating the quivering       with precision.                          1984 Experimental Reef Site “B”
motion. This proved that the first                                                          41 30 .256 N
fish was no fluke.                                                                          81 47 .041 W

What was the lesson? Match the                                                      Cleveland Stadium Artificial Reefs
action of a jig to fit the mood of the
walleyes. The most common                                                                      Edgewater
presentation is lift-drop, lift-drop.                      Visit                    Cleveland Stadium Reef West #1
                                             www.LakeErieBoating.com                             (north)
But try dragging it, popping it and                                                          41 30 .148 N
letting it fall or holding it still just         for the latest on the
                                                                                             81 45 .575 W
off the bottom. When casting to                Lake Erie Boating scene
shallow reefs, let the jig drop until                                               Cleveland Stadium Reef West #2
you feel the bottom or see slack in                Ports O' Call                                (south)
the line. Then slowly lift your rod                  Marinas                                 41 29 .970 N
tip 2 or 3 inches. Pause, drop your              Boat Dealerships                            81 45 .416 W
rod tip, reel up slack and let the jig         New & Pre-owned boats
touch bottom again. Repeat.                       Boater's Forum                                Euclid
                                                                                     Cleveland Stadium Reef East
Concentrate and remember what
                                             Anything and everything to                        (Euclid)
action you were giving the jig when                                                          41 35 .933 N
you get your first strike. A com-            do with Lake Erie Boating!
                                                                                            81 33 .804 W
mon mistake by most jiggers is that

26
 LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                         SUMMER 2001




         Steelhead Madness on Lake Erie
                                                  by
                                            Jeff Frischkorn

                                                                           catches would have been much,

S
       teelhead trout are expected   like three walleye for every
       to again give Lake Erie¹s     steelhead but that is still impres-   much higher.”
       walleye a run for their       sive since we targeted walleye and
rainbow smelt. No                                                                         Johnson typically
one knows this                                                                            fishes the summer
likelihood better than                                                                    months north of
does Ron Johnson, a                                                                       the Grand River,
charter captain from                                                                      shunting his boat¹s
Painesville and                                                                           position west to
whose base of                                                                             off Euclid or east
operations is the                                                                         off Geneva
Grand River. “I bet                                                                       depending on the
we caught between                                                                         migration pattern
600 and 800 steel-                                                                        of the fish.
head last year,” said
Johnson. “It was, by                                                                      Last summer the
far, the best steel-                                                                      largest steelhead
head fishing that                                                                         netted by Johnson
we¹ve ever seen. It                                                                       for his customers
was phenomenal.”                                                                          was a 16 1/2-
                                                                                          pound fish with a
Officially last year                                                                      17 1/4-pound trout
Ohio¹s Lake Erie                                                                          being reeled in the
boat fishermen                                                                            year before. Most
caught a projected                                                                        of the trout caught
33,524 steelhead.                                                                         by Johnson¹s
That figure is the                                                                        clients average 5
second highest ever                                                                       to 8 pounds, and
recorded; the highest                                                                     his best day last
being in 1993 when                                                                        summer saw 21
an estimated 34,000                                                                       steelhead being
steelhead were                                                                            poured into the
taken.                                                                                    boat’s
Though Johnson said                                                                       cooler.
he and his customers
still took more              Captain Ron Johnson of Thumper Charters with a                Such keeping is
walleye than steel-          prized steelie. The action really heats up in summer.         not discouraged by
head last fishing                                                                          the Ohio Division
season, on more than                                                                       of Wildlife. It is
one occasion it was the steelhead     not trout,” Johnson said. “Had we that agency¹s belief that trout
that saved the day.                   gone after steelhead exclusively I  taken from the lake¹s deep waters
                                      know that our                       will probably die anyway so it¹s
“I¹d say the ratio was something
                                                                                                           27
LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                                   SUMMER 2001



better to keep them than it is to         to use Dipsy Divers, and both sizes        New Book is First
waste the resource.                       do work,” Johnson said.                     to Follow Official
These catches began appearing the         These directional divers are              Lake Erie Circle Tour
second week in June and didn¹t            adjusted to a number 3 setting,
ease back on the throttle until           says Johnson, and allowed to trail       Some of the most popular tourist
nearly the end of August. That is         as short as 25 feet back from a         attractions in four states and a
when the fish moved closer to             planer board or 75 feet back from       Canadian province can be found on
shore in anticipation of the trout        the boat¹s stern. “Steelhead are        the Lake Erie shore. A new book
making their annual genetically           much less boat shy than are             by Ohio writer Scott Carpenter
disposed mating run up Northeast          walleye so you can get away with        captures the natural, historic and
Ohio¹s Lake Erie tributaries.             the shorter distances,” Johnson         cultural significance of the
                                          said.                                   lakeshore, and all the region has to
“It wasn¹t unusual to find the                                                    offer as a travel destination. Titled
steelhead schooled up with the            It is important that an angler          “Lake Erie Journal: Guide to the
walleye,”Johnson also said. In most       maintain proper leader length and       Official Lake Erie Circle Tour,” the
cases, however, the trout would           strength of line. Initially in the      book is the first travel guide to the
hang out in the lake¹s cooler and         fishing season Johnson employs a        designated Circle Tour, a 700-mile
more clear waters while the               leader of from 5 to 6 feet, length-     marked driving route along the
walleye preferred slightly more           ening the line to 6 to 8 feet as the    lakeshore in Ohio, Michigan,
tinted and warmer water.                  fishing season progresses.              Ontario, New York and Pennsylva-
                                                                                  nia.
“There¹d be days when we                  Johnson also prefers using 17-
actually saw the steelhead near the       pound test Power Pro line ‹ a            The 308-page book is indexed and
surface, beating up the water and         strength made necessary because         illustrated with nearly 200 maps
feeding on bait fish,” Johnson said.      of a steelhead¹s often chaotic          and photos. It describes historic
Johnson said that when he sought          attack. “A steelhead will trip a        sites, parks and natural areas, large
steelhead either as his trip¹s main       Dipsy so you don¹t have to worry        cities and major tourist attractions,
target or else for a change of pace       about that at all. What you do need     small towns and lesser-known
he¹d stay with the ammunition used        to be concerned about is the drag,”     destinations.
to hoodwink walleye. Small spoons         Johnson said. “Most fishermen
like Stingers worked especially well      keep their drags set too tight and       “A lot of travel guides these days
when finished in copper and orange        they lose both the fish and the lure;   are about as interesting to read as
coloring, Johnson said.                   sometimes the diver too.”               the phone book — not much more
                                                                                  than lists and phone numbers,”
“Silver was good too if it had a          When fighting steelhead, Johnson        Carpenter said. “I wanted to write
strip of blue tape,” Johnson said.        recommends keeping the rod held         a book that gave the reader a feel
“And the steelhead even would hit         at the 11 o’clock position and          for the character of the lakeshore
night crawler harnesses, which I          keeping up with the fish. Trout will    in its entirety and its many parts.”
found surprising.” What steelhead         often charge toward the back of
do prefer is a slightly faster trolling   the boat so reeling quickly to pick      The Great Lakes Commission
speed, says Johnson.                      up line slack is essential, Johnson     established the Lake Erie Circle
                                          says.                                   Tour as part of the 6,500-mile
By upping one’s boat speed to 2.2                                                 Great Lakes Circle Tour in the late
to 2.5 miles per hour, an angler can      “We caught a lot of walleye last        1980s. Green and white signs mark
expect more strikes from trout. For       year but the steelhead added            the route in Ohio, Michigan and
walleye the best trolling speed is        numbers to the cooler,” Johnson         Pennsylvania, while in New York
from 1.8 to 2.0 miles per hour, says      said.                                   the tour overlaps about 75 miles of
Johnson.“And you definitely want                                                  the larger New York
                                                                                          See Circle Tour, page 31
28
 LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                           SUMMER 2001




                Erie Innovation for Walleyes
                                                  by
                                               Mark Martin
                                                                            way you want to fish them.

R
         ight now, as hard-core         to cover all depths and drop
         trolling tactics are in full   speeds. And they¹re perfect for     Though they are round jigheads,
         swing every place on           snap-jigging, vertical jigging in   they excel even in current because
Erie, I’m armed with a selection of     rivers and lakes, casting and       of the slight keel shape of the head,
dependable lures that are excellent     dragging, any                       which makes them track straight in
alternatives. For                                                           running water. Fire-Balls are large
simplicity¹s sake, and                                                                      for their weight,too
to offer a straightfor-                                                                     meaning a 1/16th-
ward strategy for                                                                           ounce specimen is
success, I¹ve come up                                                                       bigger than a lot of
with three of the most                                                                      regular 1/8th-
effective lure and bait                                                                     ouncers, and have
styles that will do the                                                                     bigger, more dra-
trick around the reefs                                                                      matic profile fish
and river mouths                                                                            like.
when the trolling bite
isn’t working out. Or                                                                      More than anything,
even if it is, these tips                                                                  the Fire-Ball is a
and tricks can serve                                                                       live-bait jig, since it
as backup plans when                                                                       comes without a
the wind blows or if                                                                       keeper collar to hold
you¹re in a smaller                                                                        on plastics. I use
boat without the full                                                                      them with minnows,
assortment of trolling                                                                     leeches and half
gear. Whenever                                                                             night crawlers. In
you¹re around wall-                                                                        springtime, I turn to
eyes, it pays to break                                                                     a few tricks to catch
out the jigs, body baits                                                                   more fish. When I
and a dead rod. Now                                                                        know a bunch are
is the time to adapt                                                                       beneath me, I often
them to Erie.                                                                              bait up with two
                                                                                           small minnows, one
         Jigs                                                                              hooked upside
                                                                                           down, the other right
Of all the jigs on the                                                                     side up. This gives
market, none is more                                                                       you a pair of
effective or versatile                                                                     minnows in the
than the Northland                                                                         shape of a V for a
Fire-Ball. They come                                                                       more enticing
in sizes from minia-                                                                       profile. And if
ture to magnum,                                                                            walleyes are striking
giving you the ability              The author with a good size walleye.                 short, if one does rob
                                                                                         you of one of the
                                                                                                              29
LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                                      SUMMER 2001



minnows, it will often turn around         propeller and have the keel-shaped        into bottom just to see what
and grab the remaining bait.               head to slice water with better           happens. Sometimes it¹s the ticket.
Something to remember.                     hydrodynamics.                            If the water¹s a little deeper,
                                                                                     go with the slightly larger No. 7.
I¹ve seen the technique work time          One of the more offbeat offerings
and again on the reefs of Erie's           depends on nothing but plastic‹in         A new weapon in my arsenal is the
Western Basin. You might feel the          fact, it¹s a double-barrel plastic        Shad Rap RS, a rattling, suspend-
first hit and miss, but often the          presentation. On a standard jighead       ing bait. Once, while doing a Bass
same fish, or maybe a different            with a keeper to hold the plastic, I      Pro Shops seminar and casting into
one, will pounce on it harder the          put a Berkley Power Minnow and            one of the fish tanks, I had wall-
next time. For an added trick,             then cut an inch or so off the back       eyes, which, as we all know, ignore
every once in a while I hook a             of the hook, as if I were tipping it      almost every bait or lure in such
single minnow upside down. I do it         with live bait.                           captivity, racing after the sus-
when I¹m fishing very slowly and                                                     pender. Like all crankbaits,
giving the jig little action; instead, I   This unusual combination is great         don¹t just cast them out and reel
depend on the minnow to do it for          in deep water and in times of poor        them in. Rather, reel it down, tick
me. Upside down, the minnow is             boat control, when you can drag           bottom and pause. The lure will
prone to extra antics.                     the fake baits over flats or the          just hover there, not float up, and
                                           edge of structure.                        walleyes will grab it. There¹s
Another jig from Northland that                                                      something about a lure stopping in
has an important place in my tackle        I¹ve extended the twin rig¹s use to       a walleye¹s face that it can¹t resist.
box is the Whistler. It has a              deep water, running a heavy jig           You get much the same action
streamlined head and a small               where I might otherwise want to           when trolling them behind boards,
propeller for added sound and              fish a crankbait but am unsure I          a prime technique for suspended
flash. If normally I¹d fish a 1/4-         can reach bottom in 30 feet and           fish on Erie. (Okay, I had to
ounce round jig, I boost up to a 3/        beyond.                                   mention trolling on Erie.) As the
8ths with the Whistler because of                                                    board shoots forward and then
the added lift you get with the                         Shad Raps                    stalls on a turn, the bait will sit
propeller. Whistlers are great for                                                   there, and the walleyes nail it.
casting the shallows, around               Ever since their debut in the ¹80s,
creeks, rivers and shorelines.             Rapala¹s Shad Raps have been              With either type of Shad Rap, I like
When I pitch it out, I often work it       catching fish of all species from         to add a little extra flash with thin
almost like a crankbait. When it           coast to coast. For me, they¹re go-       strips of Witchcraft holoform tape.
gets to bottom, I lift it and stop, lift   to baits in walleye country, espe-        I also experiment with the
and stop, perhaps a little faster          cially in spring, when I start with a     company's adhesive eyes you can
than with a standard jig. With a           No. 5 in water six feet and less.         stick to the bait. Sometimes it
Whistler I like to turn to plastics as     Because you can work them faster          makes a difference. On certain
well. Since the Whistlers have a           than a jig, they help eliminate           waters, I¹ve found the walleyes
curvature to their hooks, they¹ll          water, and suspended fish will            have a definite preference for
hold plastics in place without             come up several feet to strike            yellow eyes and black pupils. I
tearing off. Try small tubes or            them. But I like them to tick and         don¹t know why, but I do know
Berkley Power Jigworms or                  nick bottom on the way in. Now, I         they work.
Minnows. Sometimes I add an                don¹t exactly pound them off the
extra squirt of Berkley Walleye            bottom, but a little light touch of       But there¹s a lot more to a Shad
Scent. In case you¹re having               bottom is perfect. When you do            Rap than just casting. Raps are
trouble keeping near bottom                feel it hit, stop it. Start it up again   excellent trolling baits, and I have
with river current, try cutting the        and when it ticks again, stop it.         the depths they track almost down
Whistler¹s prop off the jig. This                                                    to a science. Without weight and
way, you¹ll lose the lift of the           Every now and then I will plow it         with Berkley 20-pound FireLine

30
 LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                               SUMMER 2001



(the diameter of eight-pound            few inches from bottom. When you        From Circle Tour, page 28
monofilament), I can get a No. 5        get a strike, the rod will
down six feet with 63 to 73             start to bend; pick it up and set the   Seaway Trail, a National Scenic
feet of line, a No. 7 down seven to     hook.                                   Byway that continues to the Atlantic
10 feet with 100 to 110 feet of line,                                           coast. Blue and white signs identify
a No. 9 down nine, 10, even 12 or       Any bait, a leech, crawler or           the Lake Erie North Shore Tour in
13 feet with 140 to 150 feet of line.   minnow, will do the trick, but I        Ontario, which meanders from the
Trolling speed is important, and I      prefer minnows around Erie¹s big        Ambassador Bridge over the Detroit
almost always run 1 mph to 1.3          fish. Some Gum-Drops come with          River to the Peace Bridge spanning
mph. If you do go faster, your lures    stinger hooks, but I don¹t put the      the mighty Niagara.
are going to dig deeper. Try trolling   stinger into the bait. Since the
Shad Raps around tight contours         stinger is tied on stiff mono, it        For generations, families have
when you want to get a bait into        will lie right next to the minnow       vacationed at places like Niagara
small places on a short line or         and help you nail short-strikers. Or,   Falls, Cedar Point and Put-in-Bay.
when you want to get out and over       as happens with big, Great              Today, tourists also flock to new
bottom on lake basins. They             Lakes-fed fish accustomed to            attractions such as the Rock and
also excel for trolling around river    inhaling high-profile baits, they       Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in
mouths, where you need a shorter        might very well hold on and not let     Cleveland, casinos in Windsor and
line because of boat traffic or to      go. If only walleyes                    Detroit, and Bicentennial Tower
get a bait into tight places.           everywhere were that way.               overlooking Presque Isle in Erie, Pa.

And, lest I forget, when casting                                                 Recent magazine articles have
add an extra rod, where legal, with                                             touted the lake as one of the best
live bait to pick up another fish or                                            places in North America for fishing
two or three. More on that in a                                                 and birding. The Ohio Division of
moment.                                                                         Travel and Tourism just this year
                                                Try This Recipe                 named the state’s entire lakeshore as
          The Dead Rod                                                          a Heritage Corridor because of its
                                           Recipe: Cajun Fried Walleye          significant historic and natural
A dead rod, or one that¹s basically      Ingredients: ½ cup bisquick, 1/        features.
unattended, will liven up the action     cup milk, 1 egg, 1 cup cornmeal, 2
many days. When I¹m moving               tsp. Cajun seasoning, 1/ tsp. Salt, 1 Carpenter has nearly 20 years
along a contour jigging or tossing a     ½ lbs walleye fillets, Oil for frying experience as an editor, reporter and
Shad Rap, I¹ll put another rod out                                               freelance writer in Northwest Ohio.
with a Northland Rock-Runner                                                     For much of that time, he has written
                                         Preparation Instructions: Whisk
bottom bouncer and a Northland                                                   a column about Lake Erie, which has
                                         together the Bisquick, milk and egg
Gum-Drop Floater with bait.                                                      received more than a dozen awards
                                         in a medium bowl. Mix the corn-
                                                                                 for outdoor, travel and environmental
                                         meal, Cajun seasoning and salt in a
For best results, I put a fast-action                                            writing.
                                         shallow dish. Dip the fillets into the
rod in a holder with a bouncer, a        wet batter first, then dredge in the
leader up to three feet and a Gum-                                                Lake Erie Journal will be available
                                         cornmeal mixture.
Drop in small, medium or large. If                                               in bookstores and other outlets
fish are tentative I¹ll use a smaller                                            this spring, and may be ordered from
                                         Fry the fillets in hot oil until golden
one. If they¹re more active, I¹ll                                                the publisher, Big River Press, P.O.
                                         brown, turning once. Drain on
boost up in size, or if I¹m around                                               Box 130 Millfield, OH 45761. Phone:
                                         paper towels and serve. Ranch
bigger fish. The spongy material of                                              800-447-8238. The cover price is
                                         dressing makes a great dipping
the floater keeps the bait just                                                  $14.95, plus $3 shipping. (Ohio
                                         sauce for this.
above the tops of emergent weeds.                                                residents add $0.93 state tax.)
It also helps to keep the bouncer a
                                                                                                                 31
LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                                 SUMMER 2001




                  Smallmouth on the Rocks
                                                   by
                                            Melissa Hathaway

                                      across the country travel to Ohio to

I
    t’s “Smallmouth on the Rocks”                                               minimum size length of 14 inches.
     for bass anglers on the Ohio     get a piece of the action. The
     waters of Lake Erie. Mid-to-     procession of vehicles towing bass        To get a better handle on Lake
Late Spring and early Summer          boats continues through October           Erie’s smallmouth bass population,
bass anglers on this southern-most    with the peak smallmouth fishing in       the Division of Wildlife is conduct-
Great Lake know that where there      May, June, August, and September.         ing studies to better determine
is rocky structure there are lunker   One or more bass tournaments,             harvest, smallmouth bass move-
smallmouth bass ready to turn on.     many on the national level, are           ments, habitat use, stock composi-
                                      held on the lake and Sandusky Bay         tion, spawning habitats, early life
It is no coincidence that the “Bass   almost any given weekend through-         history, and biological factors that
Islands” of western Lake Erie are     out the season.                           are affecting the bass population.
so-named. The rocky shorelines                                                  This, in turn, will help determine
and drop-offs around the islands      It is ironic that these feisty fish are   appropriate management strategies
were historically known for quality   often nicknamed “smallies”                and regulations for this popular
smallmouth fishing, but the 1990’s    because on Lake Erie they are not         species.
exploded with a whole new wave        only plentiful, they are big!
of smallmouth mania, says the         Catches currently average 14 to 17        Division biologists have been
ODNR Division of Wildlife. Lake       inches, with many larger fish in the      tagging smallmouth bass in areas
Erie’s entire waters are teaming      18- to 20-inch range also caught.         off Middle Bass, South Bass, and
with smallmouth bass.                 Ohio’s state record for smallmouth        North Bass islands. Lake Erie
Smallies are taken around all the     bass caught in the Bass Islands           anglers who catch a smallmouth
Western Basin islands, Western        area in June 1993 weighed in at 9.5       bass bearing a metal jaw tag, are
Basin reefs, along rocky shorelines   pounds and was 23.5 inches in             encouraged to report it to the Ohio
across the entire mainland,           length.                                   Division of Wildlife at (419) 625-
nearshore areas and breakwalls                                                  8062.
from Huron to Conneaut, and the       Good spawning success in the
open water.                           1990s, good numbers of forage fish        Besides the tagging studies, the
                                      eaten by bass, and catch-and-             Division is sponsoring research
The third most sought after species   release practices by bass anglers         being conducted by The Ohio State
in Lake Erie, smallmouth bass is      have helped Lake Erie’s small-            University. Researchers are using
gaining ground on walleye and         mouth population to thrive. (Angler       scuba gear for underwater obser-
yellow perch as more and more         interviews indicate that more than        vations to document spawning
anglers discover the joys of          80 percent of the bass caught on          habits and interactions between
pursuing these high-jumping, feisty   Lake Erie are released back               smallmouth bass and exotic
fish. Last year the popular In-       into the lake.) Still, angling pres-      species, particularly round
Fisherman Magazine named Lake         sure for these fun-to-catch fighters      gobies. Gobies, those plentiful,
Erie “the World’s Best Smallmouth     increased five-fold during the            little, bait-stealing invader species
Bite.”                                1990s. To help conserve the               that entered the Great Lakes in
                                      smallmouth bass population, the           1990, have been observed preying
As Lake Erie’s water tempera-         Division last year decreased the          on eggs and fry of smallmouth
tures exceed 50 degrees Fahren-       legal daily bag limit for smallm outh     bass.
heit in spring, bass anglers from     bass from eight to five with a
32
 LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                                SUMMER 2001



The Division of Wildlife predicts       and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, usually
that fishing for smallmouth bass        in May. After spawning, adult           Most bass anglers practice catch-
on Lake Erie should remain good         smallmouth move to summer               and-release. But for those who
to excellent during 2001 and            foraging areas at water tempera-        prefer to keep their catch, Ohio
beyond. Bass anglers can expect         tures of 65 to 75 degrees Fahren-       law requires that smallmouth bass
to land smallies from spawns of         heit, usually by July. The depth of     caught in Lake Erie be released
1995, 1996, and 1997 now ranging        their summering area depends on         back into the lake if they are less
in size from 14 to 17 inches. Hot       water clarity, available forage, and    than 14 inches long. There
spots should include the Bass and       weather. As water temperatures          is a daily bag limit of eight fish per
Kelleys islands areas, Western          drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit,       angler.
Basin reef complex, Sandusky Bay,       they move to deeper waters in their
Ruggles Reef, artificial reefs in the   home zone, where they remain in a       Some smallmouth hot spots in the
Lorain/Cleveland area, and harbor       semidormant condition during the        Western Basin include the Bass
breakwalls from Cleveland to            winter months.                          Islands, Kelleys Island, and as well
Conneaut.                                                                       as the other small islands, near
                                        Structure is the key. Look for          shore reef complex west of Port
Anglers can find out more about         rocky structures: gravel bottoms,       Clinton, Sandusky Bay, and
smallmouth bass fishing on Lake         rocky ledges, shelves, drop-offs,       nearshore areas, shorelines, and
Erie by requesting a Lake Erie          humps, shoals, reefs, breakwalls,       piers along Marblehead, Catawba
Fishing Guide by calling 1-800-         piers, rocky and rip rap shorelines,    and Sandusky. Excellent Central
WILDLIFE (1-800-945-3543).              and rocky bottoms in open water         Basin smallmouth territory include
The guide also includes information     areas. Boat anglers have more of        Ruggles Reef off Vermilion, the
on launching facilities and who to      an advantage by drifting and            artificial reefs off Lorain and
contact for lodging and charter         moving from spot to spot, but shore     Cleveland, breakwalls at Huron,
fishing information. A recorded         anglers catch their share of            Vermilion, Lorain, Fairport Harbor,
Lake Erie fishing report is available   smallies from rocky shorelines,         Conneaut and Ashtabula, Perry
by calling 1-888-HOOK FISH              piers, breakwalls and docks, all        Nuclear Plant east of Fairport
(1-888-466-5347).                       popular haunts of smallmouth.           Harbor, and nearshore areas from
                                                                                Fairport Harbor to Conneaut.
  Where and How to Fish for             Many anglers use jigs, plastic          Contact: Melissa Hathaway,
  Lake Erie Smallmouth Bass             worms, or scented baits fished over     ODNR Division of Wildlife
                                        rocky bottoms in 8 to 20 feet of        (419) 625-8062.
Knowing the habits of smallmouth        water. Live baits generally provide
bass is important to maximizing         the best success with crayfish
your fishing efforts. Smallmouth        and shiner minnows the preferred
bass have relatively small home         live baits. A traditional presenta-         Looking to Charter
ranges and do not move great            tion still successful today is a lead         On Lake Erie?
distances in Lake Erie like walleye.    headed jig tipped with a piece of
Smallmouth bass associate with          nightcrawler, or plastic worm,
                                                                                  See the Captains listed in
bottom structure, preferring rock,      grub, or tube bait. Anglers also            our Charter Directory
rubble, gravel and sand substrates.     cast artificial baits, including           on page 39 in this issue
                                        crankbaits, spinners, and blades.                   or at
As water temperatures exceed 50         Baits and lures are worked along
degrees Fahrenheit in the spring,       shallow reef bottoms, shoals and          www.walleye.com
adult smallmouth move from deep         ledges, and near bottom along             All captains licensed, in-
water wintering sites to shallow        rocky shorelines in the spring and
spawning areas. Spawning occurs         fall. Anglers generally find better
                                                                                  sured and with years of
at depths of 4 to 20 feet at water      success in mid-summer by fishing           Lake Erie Experience!
temperatures between 55                 along rocky bottoms in open
                                        water and nearshore areas.
                                                                                                                    33
LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                                   SUMMER 2001




The Eastern Lake Erie Fishery Report
                                                       by
                                                   Joe Fischer


T
        he big news for 2001 to          Lake Perch might help them               which means that they will not be
        most veteran Eastern Lake        survive the next three years. The        able to institute their proposed
        Erie walleye fishermen is        perch population is forecasted as        walleye creel reduction until
the International Lake Erie              being on the increase but didn’t         October of 2002. By this time the
committee’s recent proposal              justify the large increase that the      other stakeholders will be well into
regarding walleye creel limits. The      commercials hoped for. Rumors            their new regulations and New
committee, which has representa-         persist that many of the commer-         York will have a preliminary
tives from 4 states and Canada,          cial fishermen are being laid off        indication on how well the new
recognized that walleye stocks           and some of the smaller operations       regulations are working or if any of
throughout the take have dimin-          are closing down. If all of the          the other stakeholders are deviating
ished by as much as 70% in the           proposed changes do take place           from the lakewide walleye regula-
last ten years and that decisive         the yearly Total Allowable Catch         tion agreement. I certainly hope
steps must be taken to reverse this      (TAC) of walleye for Lake Erie           these regulations work and the
downward trend before a walleye          will be reduced from 7.7 million         walleye doesn’t go the way of the
population crisis appears. All           fish to 3.4 million. This will be in     blue pike!
stakeholders are being asked to          place for a period of 3 years upon
share in a significant reduction of      which time the status of the             The spring to early summer fishery
the sportfishing and commercial          walleye fishery will be reevaluated.     in the eastern basin should be
walleye catch (TAC) for the next         If the stakeholders feel that a          somewhat improved by the pres-
three years. The eastern basin           significant improvement has taken        ence of a good mature 1998 class
(New York) is considering a daily        place the quotas will obviously be       year of walleye. Most of these fish
creel reduction from 5 to 4 wall-        increased.                               should be legal size and will make
eyes while Pennsylvania is propos-                                                excellent table fare. These fish will
ing to keep their daily limit at 6 but   As previously reported many              be closer to shore and in shallower
will close the spring spawning           veteran New York fishermen feet          water and will probably respond to
season for walleye fishing.              that they are being asked to once        standard daytime shallow water
Canada’s eastern basin                   again take a cut in the daily creel      walleye tactics such as worm
sportfishermen will reduce their         limit when New York State has            harnesses, jigs and stick baits.
daily limit from 6 to 4 with             been a leader in walleye conserva-       Long line trolling after dark with
Canada’s commercial fleet reduc-         tion with closed spring seasons, a       stick baits in relatively shallow
ing their catch from 3.3 million fish    ban on gill nets and a daily creel       water can be very productive until
to 1.47 million, which is a reduction    limit of 5 walleyes. They feel that if   the water warms up to summer
of 56%.                                  the rest of the lake’s stakeholders      temperatures. These fish generally
                                         would have followed these conser-        are structure oriented but the
The Ontario ministry of Natural          vative regulations the walleye           extreme water clarity.
Resources (OUNR) is taking               population downward spiral might
considerable “heat’ because of           have been averted. Their major           I drive them deeper in the daytime
their drastic reduction in the           concern however is for the conser-       but they will feed in shallow water
commercial walleye harvest. The          vation and preservation of the           after dark. The Lake Erie water
commercial fishermen have fully          walleye resource in the future.          level is projected as being lower
recognized the need for walleye          New York does have the advan-            than normal so be careful when
restrictions but had hoped that a        tage of being on a 2 year program        trolling in shallow water especially
significant increase in the TAC for      in regards to regulation changes         if your boat is relatively large.
34
  LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                                 SUMMER 2001



The summer walleye fishery, as           lures in and change colors. This         From Fishing Erie, page 22
stated in previous columns, is           takes a lot of work but most
                                         veteran offshore fishermen employ        with a GPS and a compass.
totally dependent on the arrival of
the suspended nomadic large              a variation of this tactic.              They’re invaluable when searching
                                                                                  for open water hotspots. In June,
female walleyes from the western
                                         The fall perch fishing should be         patterns have found fish offshore
basin. This proved to be later than
                                         improved, as 1998 was a strong           in 35 to 45 foot depths. They may
usual last year, as these fish didn’t
                                         class year for perch. This is indeed     be suspended up high so look for
arrive until late July. This year will
undoubtedly be very similar unless       good news as next to walleye this        ‘em.
we have very warm early summer           is the most desirable and best
                                         eating fish in Lake Erie. These fish      In July, walleye and steelhead are
temperatures, which will drive the
                                         will be found in water 40-60 feet        chased in 45 to 65 feet of water
western basin bait and walleyes to
                                         deep and the best way to catch           and both species can be located
the cooler deeper water of the
eastern basin earlier than usual.        them is with Lake Minnows. The           high as well as down into the
                                         area from Sturgeon Point to the          thermocline. Last year, many
                                         Cattaragus Creek is usually where        anglers trolled Dipsy Divers 50 to
Summertime deep-water walleye
                                         these fish school up in the fall. Be     80 feet out on 1, 2 and 3 settings
tactics on Lake Erie are based on
                                         sure to check the local weather          respectively for trout. Walleye hit
finding the suspended deep-water
walleyes and getting the proper bait     forecast before you venture out in       deeper with setting farther back at
                                         the fall as Lake Erie is noted for its   145, 165 and 185 feet of line out on
down to their depth. These fish
                                         fall windstorms, which can come          1,2 and 3 Dipsys. Fluorescent
can be sometimes be found in
                                         up in a matter of minutes!               colors like Chartreuse and Fire
water exceeding 100 feet and will
                                                                                  Tiger took most of the ‘eyes while
suspend at depths of 40-80 feet in
tight schools. Dipsy Divers, Wire        Smallmouth Bass fishing will             copper and rainbow trout patterns
                                         continue to be world class in the        caught most of my steelies.
line and Jet Planers are some of
the tackle employed by veteran           summer of 2001. The amount and
                                         size of these fish are incredible         By mid-July, lake temps are
offshore summer walleye fisher-
                                         with many people catching and            usually at 70-72 degrees down
men to get the lures at the proper
depth. “The extreme water clarity        releasing 20 to 40 smallmouths           deep. Going into late July and
                                         during one outing! Jigs continue to      August, water temps peak and
requires the use of the new thin
                                         be the top choice of most bass           motoring out 25 miles or more is
super lines such as Fireline to get
                                         anglers but crank baits also work        not unusual to locate good action.
your lures deeper without detec-
                                         quite well. This should be a good        By mid-August, many anglers shift
tion” stated veteran Eastern Lake
Erie Charter Captain Jerry May at        year for most fishermen as long as       over to yellow perch or smallies
                                         the capricious Eastern Lake Erie         instead of spending all the time and
a recent Southtowns Walleye
                                         weather doesn’t interfere. Good          gas money chasing distant fish.
Association seminar. Once again
the baits of choice will be spinner      luck!
                                                                                  Nearshore (4 to 7 miles out)
and worm combinations of various
colors, body baits like the Renosky                                               walleye activity usually picks up
                                                                                  off Lorain, Vermilion and Huron
plug and spoons of various colors.
                                                                                  but that’s another article for the fall
In the morning hours colors such as
                                                                                  issue. See you on the water!
purple, firetiger and black seem to
work well but as the sun rises
fishermen change to blue, green
and silver. Watermelon and various
shades of pink also have produced
walleye strikes. A rule of thumb is
if you are over fish and do not get
a strike in 30 minutes pull your
                                                                                                                     35
LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                                SUMMER 2001




      Lake Erie's Walleye Under the Microscope
                                                     by
                                              Jeff Frischkorn


L
        ake Erie’s fisheries manag-    harvest policies that we did in the      In truth, various unforeseen
        ers are feverishly applying    1980s but the ecological factors        factors were what led to the
        brick and mortar to the        changed in the 1990s and I have no      walleye’s current sluggish status.
state’s fishing laws, implementing     doubt that they will continue to        The unattended introduction of
greater restrictions on the harvest-   change,” said Mike Costello, the        zebra mussels into Lake Erie years
ing of walleye.                        Ohio Division of Wildlife’s biologist   ago followed by the appearance of
                                       in charge of the state’s Lake Erie      the round goby in the late 1990s
 These rules apply lakewide to both    fisheries program.                      were believed contributors to the
classes of anglers: Commercial as                                              walleye’s present morose state.
well as sport fishermen.                The real story, says Costello, is
                                       that had this year’s walleye quota       Another negative factor in the
 Had the fisheries biologists from     followed the traditional path of        equation was the ban on phos-
the lake’s four slaveholding states    exploiting recent good hatches then     phates entering Lake Erie, allowing
and one Canadian province not          the lakewide allocation would have      for the departure o nutrient-loving
undertaken halving the lakewide        risen to between 9 million and 10       algae. All three of these conditions
take of walleye, then at some point    million fish.                           led to dramatically altered lake
the species could easily have been                                             dynamics, both Isbell and Costello
spoken of in the past tense.            Instead the lake’s stakeholders are    said.
                                       placing harvest restrictions in an
 For this year Ohio’s quota of Lake    effort to rebuild a walleye fisheries    “But we also believe that fishing
Erie walleye is 1.7 million, all       that managers now admit is static,      had an impact, and that’s why we
allocated to sort fishermen. That      if not in decline.                      believe a reduction in the harvest is
statistic is out of the lakewide                                               necessary,” Isbell said. Simply put,
quota of 3.4 million fish. Last year    “I believe that biologists and         Costello says, a fisheries cannot
the lakewide quota was 7.7 million     administrators are concerned            sustain itself with the resulting
walleye with Ohio receiving 3.8        enough to take these stopgap            surplus yielding sustainable divi-
million fish.                          measures to give us time to             dends, Costello said. “What
                                       evaluate the situation in order to      we’ve been doing is hammering
 By comparison, Ontario’s com-         see what long-term management           those 15-inch fish before they had
mercial fishermen are being            options may be available,” said         much of an opportunity to spawn,”
allocated roughly 1.5 million          Gary Isbell, the wildlife division’s    Costello said.
walleye - down from their 2000         chief fisheries biologist. “In that
allocation of 3.3 million fish.        way we may be able to restore the        As a result, the management of
                                       walleye’s population to what it was     Lake Erie’s fisheries is only going
 Distilling the rhetoric, fisheries    in the past.”                           to become even more blurred and
managers agree they miscalculated                                              more difficult, Costello says.
the status of Lake Erie’s walleye       It is fundamentally wrong, Costello     “It’s a moving target, and it’s
stock.                                 says however, to simply tie Ontario     moving a heck of a lot faster than
                                       commercial fishermen to the stake       it ever did before,” Costello said.
 “Heck, we never said we were          and reach for the Butane lighter.
perfect. Our mistake was that we        “That’s an easy out. The reality is
were being too liberal with our        that Canada lived within the quota
harvest policies. We used the same     agreement,” Costello said.

36
LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                                  SUMMER 2001




       2001 Lake Erie Walleye Tourneys
April 11-14.        Wallmart RCL Walleye Series. Port Clinton, OH. $1,500 pro - $750 co-angler Contact (270) 362-5259


April 21.     United States Fishing Association (USFA) Lake Erie Circuit. Catawba Island State Park. Two person
teams. $115/team. Contact Dave Kidd at (330) 537-8603 or eyetaker@raex.com


May 19-20.         Michigan Walleye Tour. Monroe, MI. $240/team. Contact Ken Shear (517) 895-8223

June 2.     United States Fishing Association (USFA) Lake Erie Circuit. Lorain, OH. Two person teams. $115/team.
Contact Dave Kidd at (330) 537-8603 or eyetaker@raex.com

June 9.      North Coast Charter Boat Association. Fairport Harbor/Grand River, OH. Walleye Tournament $400/boat (8
rods max) Steelhead Tournament $50/boat (8 rods max). 80% payback, first five positions. Contact Bernie Roell:
 (440) 257-9544 or email: alurecharterss@cs.com.


June 13-15.         Pro Team Walleye. Lorain, OH. $650/team. Contact Dave Kidd at (330) 537-8603 or email:
eyetaker@raex.com

June 15-17.         444 Walleye International Fishing Tourn. Port Colborne & District Conservation Club. Marina H, H
Knoll Park in Port Colborne, Ontario. Entry Fee: $130/team (US) Contact Mike Shatkosky (905) 834-4314 or Mike Hili
(905) 835-1891 Email: pcdcc@inter-pc.com www.thefishingspot/pcdcc


June 16.      The 2001 West Cleveland Open. Rocky River Metro Parks Ramp, Cleveland, OH. Contact: Crhis Songer;
(440) 835-2892 email: getreelcms.aol.com Entry Fee: $125 per boat, 1-4 man teams. Total Purse: Prorated 75% pay out.


June 17.      United States Fishing Association (USFA) Team Walleye. Fairport, OH. $115/team. Contact Dave Kidd at
(330) 537-8603 or eyetaker@raex.com

June 23.      Fairport Harbor Rod & Reel Association. Fairport Harbor, OH $100.00/boat. (8 rod limit) 90% Payout.
Contact Jason Glatz: (440) 548-4102

June 30 – July 8         Southtowns Walleye Association of Western New York. Several Western New York weigh
stations. Contact Tom Marks: (716) 947-9350


July 14-15.       New York Walleye Association. Ameri-Can Walleye Classic. Chadwick Bay Marina, Dunkirk, NY.
$175/team (3 man teams). Limit 150 teams. Contact Jim Borucki (716) 897-1522 or George Boice (716) 874-2522

July 20-22.        Walleye Challenge. Port Colborne, Ontario $375/3-4 person team (US). 125 team limit . Contact Dave
Malloy (905) 834-9218.


July 28.     United States Fishing Association (USFA). Fairport, OH. $115/team. Contact Dave Kidd at (330) 537-8603 or
eyetaker@raex.com
                                                                                                                       37
LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                                  SUMMER 2001




        2001 Lake Erie Walleye Tourneys

 July 29.     Western Reserve Walleye Association Open Event. Geneva State Park Ramp, Geneva, OH.
 $100/2 person team. Contact Jim Breedlove (330) 530-3909 or visit www.thewrwa.com.


 August 4.     11th Annual Lake Erie Walleye Tournament. ARU Marina, Ashtabula, OH.
 Contact Chuck Baker (330) 392-1591 ext. 223 or Nick Frangos (330) 759-0746. Email: fishbanger001@netscape.net


 August 8-10.          Professional Walleye Trail (PWT) Lake Erie Tournament. Dunkirk, NY Contact PWT Headquarters
 at: (218) 829-0620.


 August 11-12.          Masters Walleye Circuit. Geneva, OH. $375/team Contact: (612) 833-1522


 August 15-17.          Pro Team Walleye. Fairport Harbor, OH. $650/team. Contact Dave Kidd at (330) 537-8603 or email:
 eyetaker@raex.com

 August 18-19. United States Fishing Association (USFA) Lake Erie Circuit.         Fairport, OH. $115/team Contact
 Dave Kidd at (330) 537-8603 or eyetaker@raex.com.
           If you know of a Lake Erie Walleye fishing tournament let us know by calling 1 800 347-4519. We'd like to
           post all Lake Erie fishing tournaments both in the magazine and on our web site at walleye.com!!



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LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                                         SUMMER 2001




                Lake Erie Walleye Charter Service Directory
Western Basin                             Western Basin                                   Central Basin
Angel Eyes Charters                                                                    Aqua Fantasea Fishing Charters
                                          Hardwater Charters
Captain Gary Watkins                      Captain Joe Kostura                          Captain Timothy D. Garrett
1170 West Richey Rd.                      http://isis.infinet.com/maplebnb/charters/   (440) 257-3231 or (216) 319-5847 (boat)
Port Clinton, OH 43452                                                                 Email: timgarrett@buckeyeweb.com
                                          (419) 285-3106
1 800 475-8655                                                                         www.aquafantaseasinc.com
                                          P.O. Box 386
28' Sportfisherman Angel Bay Marina                                                    6076 Walden Court, Mentor, OH 44060
                                          Put-in-Bay, OH 43456
U.S.C.G. Licensed Member SCBA, NACO       30' Sport Craft                              31' Baha Sport Fisherman
                                          Miller's Marina, Put-in-Bay                  Grand River Marina, Grand River, OH
Best Try Charters                                                                      USCG, Ohio Licensed Guide, NCCBA
                                          U.S.C.G. Licensed, Member LECBA
Captain Ray Smith
(800) 898-5516                            McReel Thing Charters                        BoKay Charters
Email: capt@awavewitch.com                Captain Jerry McRill                         Captain Robert A. Schmidt
11751 W. S Rt. 105                        1 800 589-6568                               (888) 551-0440
Oak Harbor, OH 43449                      Email: GOMCREEL@aol.com                      Email: bobokay@erienet.net
30' Sportfisherman, Port Clinton, OH      7943 CR 313 Findlay, OH 45840                www.greatlakesfishing.com/bokay
USCG & Ohio Licensed Guide                1998 30' Sportcraft                          1715 W. 26th St., Lorain, OH 44052
                                          Fenwick Marina, Oak Harbor, OH               30' Baha 229 Fisherman
Dealers Choice Charters                   Multiple Boats Available                      Spitzers Marina, Lorain, OH
Captain Dennis Lutz                       Free Lodging                                 USCG, Member CBCBA LECBA
(937) 866-8391 (937) 654-0791 - cell      U.S.C.G. Licensed                            Prime Time Charters
6615 Gillen Lane, Miamisburg, OH 45342                                                 Captain Larry Croskey
New 2001 Baha 30' Fisherman               Taylor Charters                              (330) 948-3068
Wild Wings Marina, Oak Harbor, OH         Captain Edwin A. Taylor                      (330) 465-1844 (summer boat)
U.S.C.G. Licensed, Member LECBA           106 Center St. Huron, OH 44839               129 Wooster St. Lodi, OH 44254
Retired Fire Captain & Paramedic          (419) 433-4693 or 800 743-4693               32' Marinette Grand Sportman
                                          Email: TC915@AOL.Com                         Winkes Landing, Port Clinton, OH
E.-B.'s Pride Charters                    www.taylorcharters.com                       Geneva State Park, Geneva, OH
Captain Austin Tester                     34' Luhrs Sportfisherman                     U.S.C.G. Licensed Member L.E.C.B.A.
(419) 798-8621                            Northwest Catawba Marina
187 Hidden Beach Rd.                      USCG & Ohio Licensed guide                   Sweet Fish Charters
Marblehead, OH 43440                      Proud member L.E.C.B.A.                      Captain Ed Letour
34' Baha Catamaran, Lake Vue Marina                                                    www.sweetfish.net
U.S.C.G. Licensed, Ohio Licensed          Sunchaser Sportfishing                       1 800 891-9096 or (440) 466-1025
Member LECBA, LESF                        Captain Ron LaMont                           (440) 487-7999- Boat
                                          Captain Mike Matthews                        Lot 93 Audubon Camprgound
Fashion Lady Sport Charter                1-888-811-8053                               Rt. 534 Geneva, OH 44041
Captain Bob Banjoff                       4860 N. Crestridge                           30' Baha 299 Sport Fisherman
(440) 988-8849                            Toledo, OH 43623                             Geneva State Park Marina, Geneva, OH
145 Luxor Lane Amherst, OH 44001          30' Sportcraft (NEW)                         USCG Licensed, NCCBA, Ohio Licensed Guide
27' Sportcraft Fish Master                Lamberjack's Marina
Anchors Away Marina, Marblehead, OH
U.S.C.G. Licensed Member L.E.C.B.A.
                                          U.S.C.G. Licensed, Ohio Guide                Eastern Basin
                                           Member LECBA
Walleyes, Smallmouth & Perch charters                                                  Sassafras Charters
                                                                                       Captain Lance Ehrhardt
                                          Teal Point Lodge & Charters
Rice Charters                                                                          (716) 896-6186
                                          Capts. Bob & John Les
Captain Bill Rice                                                                      105 Bogardus Street
                                          (419) 898-5106
(419) 635-2068 1-800-770-0904                                                          Buffalo, NY 14206
                                           Charters and Lodging , Toussaint Area
6206 W. Harbor Rd.                                                                     29' Baha Cruiser
                                          4445 N. St. Rt. 2 Oak Harbor, OH 43449
Port Clinton, OH 43452                                                                 Chadwick Bay Marina, Dunkirk, NY.
                                          27' Sportcraft Fisherman
28' Omega Hardtop                                                                      U.S.C.G. Master Licensed
                                          Floro's Marina U.S.C.G. Lic.
Wild Wings Marina, Port Clinton, OH                                                    Member Eastern LECBA
                                          Member WBCBA
U.S.C.G. Licensed, Member L.E.C.B.A.
                                                                                       Super Sport Charters
Rising Sun Charters                                                                    Captain Rich Clementi
Captain G.W. Jumper, Jr.                                                               (716) 695-2296
(937) 652-2412 captgwjumper@foryou.net                                                 131 Paradise Lane #13
613 College Way, Urbana, OH 43078                                                      Tonawanda, NY 14150
30' Sportcraft Fisherman                                                               24' Sportfisher
Green Cove Condominiums, Oak Harbor, OH                                                Chadwick Bay, Dunkirk, NY
USCG Licensed, Ohio Licensed Guide                                                     U.S.C.G. Licensed, Fully Insured
                                                                                                                             39
LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                                   SUMMER 2001




                           Business & Service Directory

        Angel Eyes Charters                                              Bo Kay
        Aboard "Angel Eyes" - 28' Baha Fisherman                    Fishing Charters
                 Bass * Walleye * Perch                          Walleye - Steelhead - Smallmouth - Perch
 Captain Gary J. Watkins           1170 West Richey Road                  Bobokay@erienet.net
 U.S. Coast Guard License          Port Clinton, OH 43452          www.greatlakesfishing.com/bokay
 Ohio Guide License                      419-734-3803                          (888) 551-0440
                                        1-800-475-8655
                                                                                Captain Bob Schmidt
               Email: Angeleye@infinet.com                        1715 W. 26th St., Lorain, OH 44052 (440) 282-2127



          Walleye * Bass * Perch * Salmon
               Sturgeon General                                       R-Boat Charters
                                                                           Lake Erie Fishing at its Best
            Lake Erie Fishing Charters
                                                                   Captains Dave & Mary Anne Kastl
              Captain Hank Cocain
                                                                         2-4 person charters are our specialty
                Licensed Captain and Guide
                                                                               Phone: 440-282-7023
     Keister Marina                6914 Hassell Road                            Cell: 216-346-1417
     Ashtabula, Ohio               Sharpsville, PA 16150                      Email: dakmak@lor.net
                                   (724) 962-4725                   Website: www.walleye.com/rboatcharters.htm


                                                              USCG Licensed Captains                 Fully Insured
     Central Basin Fishing           (440) 942-4709           Ohio Licensed Guide                    Fully Equipped
     Walleye * Steelhead * Perch     NCSportFishing@aol.com   Member LECBA
                                                                              Mari Charters
         North Coast Sportfishing                                                  27' Sportcraft
                        Aboard                                      Lake Erie Walleye, Bass, Perch Sport Fishing

                    The Christy Lynn                          Capts. Mari & Mike Hluszti           Herls Harbor
                                                              19554 Diagonal Rd.                   2263 NE Catawba Rd.
                                            Chagrin River     Wellington, OH 44090                 Port Clinton, OH 43452
     www.WalleyeFishingCharter.com                            1-800-642-6274
     www.NorthCoastSportfishing.com         Eastlake, Ohio
                                                                 www.maricharters.com         mmhluoi@prodigy.net


       USCG Licensed                    Ohio Licensed Guide   Captain Dan Phillips                   For Reservations
                           Walleye
                                                              USCG Licensed Master (50 ton)          (419) 645-4317
       Perch       Playin Hooky                   Bass        Ohio Licensed Guide
                                                                                                     Lake: 419 734-1034
                     Charters                                 Danny Buoy Fishing Charters
               Lake Erie Sport Fishing                                        Walleye - Perch - Bass
  Capt. Jerry Taylor                   Home (419) 547-6890                  Aboard the Danny Buoy II
  616 W. Maple St.                     Fax (419) 547-2377                Fishing US and Canadian Waters
  Clyde, OH 43410                      Cell (419) 265-5122              Website: www2.wcoil.com/~danybuoy
                email: jtaylor@nwonline.net
40
LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                                 SUMMER 2001




                          Business & Service Directory
                                                                      Sportfishing on Lake Erie and Lake Ontario
        Walleye - Perch - Smallmouth
            Coe Vanna Charters                                     Top Gun Fishing Charters
                & Lodging                                                     Captain Frank Godina
      Captains Dave Whitt & Bob McCoy                                          (724) 927-6912
               www.coevannacharters.com                                    Email: fishtopgun@hotmail.com
                   (419) 898-4545                                Western & Central Basin walleye and smallmouth Fishing
        30' Sportcrafts * Bait & Tackle Furnished                               Lake Ontario for Salmon
USCG Licensed & Insured Captains    1759 N. Carroll-Erie Road    Master USCG Licensed              3814 Bentley Rd.
Over 30 Years Experience            Port Clinton, OH 43452       Ohio Guide, Fully Insured         Espyville, PA 16424


                                   P.C. Chamber of Commerce         Walleye * Perch * Smallmouth * Steelhead Trout
                                     U.S. Coast Guard Licensed
                                          Ohio Licensed Guide
                                                   L.E.C.B.A.           Lucky Duck Charters
                Captain William B. Rice                                      Captain Rick Comstock
     RICE CHARTERS                                                              (877) 967-6853
                 28' "Friendly Mission"                                       27' Sportcraft 270 Fisherman
             Lake Erie Walleye • Bass • Perch                       Docked at Anchors Away Marina, Marblehead, OH
  (419) 635-2068                          6206 W. Harbor Rd.
  1-800-770-0904               Port Clinton, OH 43452-9439



        "No Time But To Fish and We Catch Fish!"

        No Time Charters                                          Have a Boat to Sell?
              Captain Matt Severns                                     Try the Lake Erie Walleye Boat
   Lake Erie Sportfishing for walleye, perch, smallmouth
                                                                                 Classifieds
                   1-800-555-4170                                                    at
                   www.fishnotime.com                                       www.walleye.com
               USCG Licensed Ohio Licensed Guide
                                                                         List your boat for sale for:
                                                                             $9.00 basic listing
   Legal Limit Charters                                               $19.00 with detailed description
                                                                             $29.00 with photo
             Captain Richard Spieth                                            List till it sells!!
        Phone: 1-734-854-5900                                            Call 1-800-347-4519
               Cell: 1-419-356-5018                                                 or visit
 Luna Pier, MI                      Olcott, NY                              www.walleye.com
Walleye (May-July)            Salmon (July-September)
                                                                                                                   41
LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                                                            SUMMER 2001




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LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                    SUMMER 2001




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                             Mark Martin
                    Everything you NEED to know to
                             catch walleyes!

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                                                                 43
LAKE ERIE WALLEYE                                              SUMMER 2001


                                        Captain
                                   Timothy D. Garrett
                                   6076 Walden Court, Mentor, Ohio 44060
                                   (440) 257-3231 (phone)
                                   (440) 257-6995 (fax)
                                   (216) 596-3033 (pager)
                                   (216) 319-5847 (boat)
            "Where All             www.aquafantaseainc.com
      Your Fishing Fantaseas
                                   timgarrett@buckeyeweb.com
           Come True!"

                                      Walleye * Steelhead
                                  * Perch * Smallmouth Bass



      Luxory & Comfort Aboard       Corporate Specialist * Multiple Charters
     a 31' Baha Sport Fisherman              Limousine Service &
                                         Lodging Packages Available




       20 pounds and 38 inches           14 pounds and 34 inches

     Fish Lake Erie's Central Basin -Deep Water Means Big Fish
44